Want a Better Health Outcome? Ask Questions.
Did you know that each year thousands of people are admitted to the hospital, don't improve as expected, or spend additional money on medical visits simply because they didn't take their medication correctly?1 Asking questions, both of your doctor and your pharmacist, can lead to better health outcomes.
Before you leave the pharmacy with your prescription, ask your pharmacist the following questions:
- What can I expect this medication to do and how will I know if it is being effective?
- I am allergic to __________. Will this medication cause any problems?
- I am also taking __________ and some over the counter (OTC) supplements. Is that okay with this new medication?
- Should I take this with food? If yes, are there any foods I should avoid?
- Are there any possible side effects? What should I do if I experience a side effect?
- When should I take it, and what should I do if I miss a dose?
- If I start to feel better, can I stop taking it?
- How should I store this medication? Does it need refrigeration (if yes, what should I do if I accidentally leave it out)?
- Is there a less expensive medication under my health insurance plan that would be equally as effective? Would it be less expensive if I paid the cash price?
- Do you have any services that could help make my life easier?2,4,5
Working together for you
Your pharmacist can act as a connection to your doctor, helping you work out issues with your prescriptions and suggesting alternatives when necessary. They may also offer services to help support your health between doctor’s visits:
- Blood pressure. Your pharmacist can suggest how to continue to monitor it and let you know when it might be time to check back in with your doctor.4
- Blood sugar. Many pharmacies offer blood sugar checks. Need help learning how to use your blood monitor? Ask your pharmacist for help to master the devices you need to monitor your blood sugar on your own.
- OTC medications. Your pharmacist can help you select medications for minor ailments – and let you know which ones you should avoid because of your prescriptions or chronic health issues.
- Staying on track. Perhaps it is as easy as asking your pharmacist to help you divide your pills into a “days of the week” pill box. Or, depending on your needs, delivery, compounding, medication synchronization or special packaging may be needed to help you reach your health goals. Be sure to ask if your pharmacy is willing to work with you and offers the services you need.
- Annual medicine review. Ask your pharmacist to review your medications. They can work with your physician(s) to keep your medication regime up to date, to help you avoid complications and save money. If you are a caregiver, your pharmacist can help you understand the medications your loved one is taking and help arm you with questions for their doctor(s).3
Build a team that works for you
If you are living with a chronic illness or condition, it can feel like you are in it alone. Surrounding yourself with a strong healthcare team offers you the support you need and can lead to better outcomes. Your pharmacist is your most accessible – and underutilized – healthcare resource available. In fact, of all your healthcare providers, we are likely the one you see most often.2 Always remember, we are here to help – all you need to do is ask.
Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
- AHPA: “How To Get The Most From Your Pharmacist” https://www.pharmacist.com/how-get-most-your-pharmacist Accessed: February 8, 2019.
- CDC: “Get to Know Your Pharmacist” https://www.cdc.gov/features/pharmacist-month/index.html Accessed: February 8, 2019.
- Consumer Reports: “How Your Pharmacist Can Make You Healthier” https://www.consumerreports.org/health-wellness/how-your-pharmacist-can-make-you-healthier/ Accessed: February 8, 2019.
- Patient Advocate Foundation: “Tips for Talking With Your Pharmacist” https://www.patientadvocate.org/explore-our-resources/interacting-with-your-physician/tips-for-talking-with-your-pharmacist/ Accessed: February 8, 2019.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Safe Medicine Practices” https://www.aaos.org/research/committee/ptsafety/MedSafetyBrochure.pdf Accessed: February 11, 2019.
Posted on Fri, March 1, 2019
by Health Mart