What Every Consumer Needs to Know About Their Pharmacist
Pharmacists provide knowledgeable, affordable and accessible health care services. In these days of skyrocketing medical costs and doctors who have limited time to spend with patients, it’s good to know all that your pharmacist can do for you.
Developing A Relationship With Your Pharmacist
- Make your pharmacist part of your health care team.
Think of your pharmacist as supplementing rather than replacing your doctor. They get more training in pharmacology than most physicians. Plus, consumers are giving them feedback all day long about real life experiences with the latest drugs.
- Know the rules in your state.
Laws vary from state to state as to what pharmacists are allowed to do. Still, more than 40 states now have some form of Collaborative Drug Therapy Management. This allows pharmacists and prescribers to work together on guidelines and protocols for initiating, modifying or continuing drug therapy for individual patients.
- Fill your prescriptions at one source.
The more your pharmacist knows about you, the better the care they can provide. If they know all the medications you’re taking, they can spot potential interactions.
- Be cautious about online pharmacies.
Beware of rogue websites that may sell counterfeit drugs. Stick to legitimate pharmacies that are verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
Manage Medications With Your Pharmacist
- Discuss side effects and allergies.
Keep your pharmacist up to date on all your medical conditions, treatment plans, and allergies. It could save your life.
- Take your medications correctly.
Find out what to do if you forget to take your prescription or if you take too much. Some drugs need to be taken on an empty stomach and others go better with food. Some can be crushed and others need to be kept whole.
- Store drugs properly.
Room temperature and low humidity are best for preserving most drugs. Your pharmacist can advise you on any special needs and explain how some ingredients become inactive or change their effects due to their environment.
- Use over the counter products wisely. Your pharmacist can also provide guidance with non-prescription products. Taking just what you need will save money and provide the best results.
Other Ways Your Pharmacist Can Help You
- Make healthy lifestyle changes.
Maybe you’re looking to lose weight or quit smoking. Your pharmacist can suggest strategies and resources to make the process easier.
- Find additional support for chronic conditions.
Pharmacists are taking on a new coaching role for patients with conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart disease. Sign up for educational classes, monitor your progress and take advantage of other special benefits and savings.
- Keep your immunizations up to date.
Studies show that immunizations prevent almost 15 million cases of disease and more than 30,000 deaths every year. Pharmacists can help you identify which vaccines you need and the related benefits and risks.
- Explore natural health products.
It can be difficult to sort out the many claims made by herbal remedies and other non-prescription products. Ask your pharmacist for help in making the best choices. It’s also important to coordinate your care as some products may interfere with certain prescription drugs.
- Save money.
Online pharmacies have created price pressures on local stores that pay off in bargains for you. Look for special offers like fixed price generic drugs or multiple month supplies. Speaking of generics, ask your doctor if substitutions can be allowed so your pharmacist can give you a less expensive, generic version if appropriate.
Get to know your local pharmacists. They can help you avoid potentially serious drug interactions and guide you on the way to leading a healthier and longer life.
Let’s Keep The Conversation Going!
Do you have any favorite pharmacy tips and hacks? Don’t be shy! Share them in the comments below.
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