Often times, prescription transactions go something like this. Your doctor sends in a prescription, the medication is filled, you may or may not be offered the opportunity to discuss the dosage and frequency with your pharmacist, and you are on your way. But what happens when questions arise? What if the medication isn’t providing its intended effect? Who should you turn to? The answer should be your pharmacist — they are medication experts after all. But most people don’t reach out to their pharmacist because they aren’t fully aware of the extent of their capabilities and important role they can play in maintaining optimal health.
Pharmacists do more than just count tablets and pour liquids. For each prescription dispensed, your pharmacist must double-check the information provided by the prescriber, check that new medications won’t adversely interact with your other medications, ensure that dosage levels are correct, and confirm that you understand how to properly take and store your prescription. Pharmacists also provide a large range of health and pharmacy services including medication therapy management, disease management coach/support, smoking cessation and weight management support, immunizations and other clinical services.
Medicines today have the power to heal the sick and improve our overall quality of life. But taken improperly, medicines have the power to do serious harm. This is why choosing the right pharmacist can just be as important as choosing the right physician.
When you have a single pharmacist care for all of your medications, especially if you are seeing multiple health care providers, you then have someone who is reviewing the complete picture of your medication therapy, enabling them to provide care for your overall health and wellbeing — not just for any single condition. By choosing one pharmacy, you empower your pharmacist to get a more comprehensive view of your medical history to avoid duplicate medications or have one prescription interact harmfully with another. Your pharmacist can also provide a range of other helpful information including possible side effects, what foods and activities you should avoid, and what you should do if you miss a dose.
“Patients can get the most out of their medications when they work with one pharmacy,” says Tony Willoughby, Health Mart Chief Pharmacist at McKesson. “This allows your pharmacist to be your central point of contact when managing your prescriptions and can work closely with your health care providers to ensure you are taking all of your prescriptions safety and effectively."
Taking your medication correctly is one of the best ways to keep your health care costs down. Each year, countless people end up in the hospital, prolong an illness, or waste needless money because they did not take their medication properly. Having one central pharmacist looking out for your health can help ensure you are taking your medications correctly.
Also, it’s a good idea to check with your pharmacist before taking any nonprescription medication. Just because it doesn’t require a prescription, doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. If taken improperly, a nonprescription drug can negatively interact with your prescriptions or badly affect another health condition. Make sure your pharmacist is aware of any allergies to medications to avoid negative reactions to your health.
When your doctor and your pharmacist work together, they make the perfect health care team, ensuring the best selection and management of your prescription and nonprescription medicines. By working together, you can be sure that your medications are taken safely, effectively, and appropriately to get the most out of them.
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APhA. How To Get The Most From Your Pharmacist [Article]. Retrieved from