There are many ways to use your pharmacist to improve your life. The pharmacist is not just there to dispense pills. They have a lot of excellent knowledge that you can tap into.
When you bring your prescriptions into the pharmacy, part of the pharmacist’s job is to check what is being ordered and decide if this is compatible with the drugs that you already take. They also need to keep up to date with newer drugs and better options available. Research is a continuous thing and what may have been the best option in the past no longer is.
The pharmacist will call the doctor if they feel there is an interaction with current medications or if there is new information the doctor needs to be aware of. It never hurts to ask the pharmacist if you need to know of any new information on your drugs.
Still on that drug
Sometimes we are put on a drug for a specific reason and it helps and then we just keep on taking it because no one said to stop taking it. This may occur because they knew you would need the medication for a longer period than normal and they have put a repeat order on the prescription so you don’t need to keep going back to the doctor for a refill. This is a good idea except when after a long period (>1 year) you no longer need it but it keeps getting refilled.
You can ask your Pharmacist if they can review your prescription history and bring them up to date with current concerns. You don’t need medications that have long stop being helpful.
Make sure you let the pharmacist know of any big weight gain or loss, as this could impact the amount of medication needed.
This will do what!
The pharmacist should let you know what to expect after taking your medication. You should be told if you need to take it with food or specifically without food. Some medications will make you have certain symptoms. You might stop the medication if you didn’t know to expect it. Frequently side effects will not last long and be gone in a few days. It would be helpful if you knew that.
Some medications may cause serious side effects and need to be stopped immediately if they occur. An example of this is Champix (Varenicline). This drug is a smoking cessation drug and can be quite useful in trying to quit smoking. In some people, however, Champix should be discontinued immediately if you develop agitation, depressed moods, changes in your behavior, or if you develop suicidal thoughts or behavior. This doesn’t happen very often but you need to be aware of this.
Return medications responsibly
We all have some medications that are out of date or we no longer use them. Do not throw them in the garbage or flush them down the toilet. They are ending up in our waterways and soil. You can return them to your pharmacy and they will dispose of them responsibly. This should not cost you anything.
I recommend going through your medicine cabinet once a year and dispose of things you no longer use. When you wake at two in the morning and need something for a headache it is easy to grab the wrong container! Also, the writing on that container is usually very small and we don’t always have our glasses handy.
There are always those that say they don’t want to dispose of leftover medication in case they need it at another time. I get this, drugs are not cheap. The chances, however, of you getting the same prescription with the same amount of medication are rare.
Your pharmacist can do a lot more than dispense medication. They can often give advice on healthy living. They are knowledgable on weight loss, vaccines needed for trips or the yearly flu vaccines, smoking cessation, and cholesterol monitoring. They also can advise on a lot of medical conditions and ways to help with that. They can work with your doctor to give you the best information on the medication you take.
Don’t waste the knowledge or talents that are available to you at your local pharmacy.