I recently had a conversation with a client that reminded me how important
a pharmacist can be in managing your health.
Bob, my client, recently had a change in his insurance and the medication
they had been taking for many years suddenly became VERY expensive. The
pharmacist caught the change and was able to fill the medication for the
client prior to the insurance changes taking effect. The quick thinking
of the pharmacist gave Bob time to work with their physician to find a
new medication. The pharmacist literally saved the day—and Bob’s
If you have a health condition that requires you to fill a prescription,
your pharmacist is one of the most important members of your health team.
But did you know that pharmacists often offer a wide range of services
such as medication management, medication compliance, immunization administration
and more. In addition to keeping us safe while using medications, they
can work alongside your doctor to help you find the best and most affordable
medication to treat your health condition. They are able to answer questions
for you about how to best take your medications, the side effects to watch
for and also the interactions your medication can have with over the counter
supplements you may take, along with the foods you may eat. Don’t
forget that your pharmacist is a tremendous (FREE) resource for you to
better your health.
Next time you fill a prescription, here are a few questions you should
ask your pharmacist:
Is there a generic version I can take? Generic medications generally have the same chemical composition as the
name brand product and work just as effectively. Occasionally, there are
subtle differences in the medication, such as the capsule that is used
which can cause minute differences in how the medication works. Generally,
a generic medication will cost lessand often have the same effect. Ask
your pharmacist and save a few (or more) bucks!
What side effects should I be aware of? Your prescriptions should come with printed information about the medication
you are taking. Sometimes, these printed directions and warnings can be
difficult to decipher. Ask your pharmacist about the most common side
effects or the big ones that you specifically should watch for.
Are there any special instructions? Medications often should be taken at specific intervals—so does
that mean breakfast and dinner, or every 12 hours? Be sure to ask what
to do if you miss a dose. If you already take other medications, you may
need to adjust how you are taking them, alongside your new medication.
Some medications should be taken on an empty stomach while others are
better consumed with foods. There may even be foods you should avoid while
taking your medicine. Your pharmacist is the best resource to ask–they
can help you to effectively take your medications.
Can I take my medications with my vitamins or supplements? If you use supplements, you should have a good talk with your pharmacist.
Many over-the-counter (OTC) products can have an interaction with medication,
or can either increase or decrease the effectiveness of your prescriptions.
For example, many weight loss products should not be taken with asthma
medications. Foods can also interact with medications—bananas and
lisinopril (a common blood pressure medication) should not be taken together.
How should I store my medications? Medicines often need some tender loving care-they may need to be stored
in the dark, refrigerator or at room temperature. Not storing them properly
can change the effectiveness of them, their taste and more. Be sure to
ask your pharmacist about the best way to care for your medications. They
can also direct you how to dispose of them properly.
A pharmacist should be your first stop when taking a new medication or
reviewing what you already take. They can be a wonderful resource if you
have questions about prescriptions as well as OTC supplements and medicines.
The next time you visit with your pharmacist, make sure that you bring
your list of questions, and let them know if you have any allergies, take
other medications or have any dietary restrictions. The best way for your
pharmacist to assist you is to keep them well informed!
Looking for more information? Check out these articles:
Everyday Health: 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Pharmacist; Filling prescriptions is
just one of the services the drugstore offers by Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Consumer Reports: Don't mix your meds with these foods; Some fruits, vegetables, and
even some drinks can cause dangerous interactions
Campbell County Health Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote
overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern
Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Rachel Wilde, CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services Technician