Premier Care Homes Salem Oregon

Important Information for those (All too frequent) Pharmacy Visits

February 26, 2015

Typically, as we age, we tend to end up taking more and more medication. Sometimes these medicines are over the counter, and many times these medications are prescribed by a doctor. We should know this, that these medications exist to help us all live hopefully healthier, longer lives. What we don’t all know, are some questions you should try to ask every time you pick up a medication from the pharmacy. Those who work at the pharmacy are there for many reasons, one being to answer your questions. If the initial person you speak to is unable to answer any of your questions, they will normally do their best to find someone else who can. Nobody can blame you for trying to keep yourself or your loved ones healthy and balanced.

Below are 5 basic questions that you should be asking your pharmacist when you go pick up medications. You can always ask these same questions if purchasing anything over the counter, even vitamins- as that fine print can, at times, be mind boggling. Thanks to for the information below!

1)      What should you expect from the medication? Will this medication have side effects? Does it typically take 1 day, 3 days, or 5 days before many people start to notice much of a difference? Are there any real “red flags”, as in potentially very dangerous side effects you should be on the lookout for?

2)      How long should I take this medication before I call my doctor? This can also be a good question for those purchasing something over the counter. Should you deal with those symptoms for 1 week, 2 weeks, or longer while taking this medicine if you still haven’t noticed much of a benefit? When is it appropriate to give your primary care physician a call to see  if more tests and/or a visit to the doctor’s office is necessary?

3)      How do I manage my condition? Or how do I help my loved one manage their condition? Use the pharmacist for their brilliant brains! They can not only give you advice about the actual medication you will be taking, but also on how to modify yours, or someone that you love’s, lifestyle. While medication may be assisting with your blood pressure or helping regulate pain, the pharmacist may be able to tell you to increase you uptake in water, or increase your daily walking to help you really get the most out of your medication.

4)      Do these certain medicines mix? This is a great question. Many people are taking more than one medication, both prescribed AND over the counter. So it’s always a good idea to see if your newly prescribed medication as well as the plethora of other medicines in your cabinet will not do some sort of science experiment in your guts and make you sick. This is always a great question to ask. We ask that many of our seniors take lists of their medications to doctors appointments because truly, most of us can’t remember names and dosages perfectly.

5)      What should I do about my persistent, minor symptoms? Again, pick your pharmacists brain. With this question, they can either point you in the right direction for an over the counter remedy, or actually point out to you that that specific symptom isn’t so minor, and you may actually want to see a doctor for it.

I hope this list will stay fresh in your brain. It’s important not only to know WHO to ask, but WHAT to ask as well. With most of us living longer lives, our lists of medications we take are growing and it’s up to us to ask the right questions to keep our medicine cabinets straight. Many medications are provided from multiple doctors, and unless we keep them advised, they won’t know what we are or aren’t taking. Use that friendly pharmacist to make sure you’re managing everything as best as you can.

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