When you drop off a prescription or pick up your medication, how often do you actually talk to your pharmacist?
Pharmacists are valuable resources when it comes to medication, yet many people never think to ask them questions or check with them about concerns.
"Pharmacists are medication experts and an important member of your health care team,” said Chad Alvarez, senior director of the retail pharmacies at Carilion Clinic. “They are the most accessible health care provider and are available to help guide you to get the most out of your medication therapy."
The next time you fill a prescription, think about these tips from Chad. And if you have any questions (especially if you’re starting a new medication), talk to your pharmacist!
- Check the label – Make sure your name is printed on the label and you can read the medication’s name and any warnings. Your pharmacist can reprint a label or print it in larger type if you need it.
- Review the instructions – Look for the directions on the label from your doctor; if you have any questions about how to take the medication, ask your pharmacist.
- Open the container – There are easy-to-open jars and bottles that can be used if you have any difficulty opening your medication. If you need a different container and have children in your home, make sure to talk to your pharmacist about options.
- Look at the medication itself – If you are refilling a prescription, see if it looks the same as it did the last time you filled it. If not, check with your pharmacist to make sure you received the correct medication.
- Ask for clarification – Before you leave the pharmacy, be sure you know if the medicine needs to be kept in a specific place (like a refrigerator). If you have allergies and can’t tell if you’re allergic to an ingredient in your medication, ask your pharmacist.
Pharmacists are there to help you. Don’t be shy about asking questions or getting clarification if you have any concerns. It is important to take your medication safely and as directed!
For more information about safe use of medications, visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or the National Institute on Aging.