Starting a new medication may not seem like a big deal, but if you think about it, you are introducing a new substance into your body and you should start with as much information as possible. Ideally, your doctor will have gone over the possible side effects of the medication with you but there are more things to consider and not all of them are written on the prescription label.
That’s why it’s wise to talk to your pharmacist when you hand in a new prescription. This is your chance to take advantage of his or her expertise, so when you ask him or her if you have any questions, take advantage of the opportunity.
But what if your mind goes blank and you don’t know what to ask? Here are the five basic questions we should ask our pharmacists before we start taking a new medication.
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Questions to ask your pharmacist when picking up a new prescription
If you want to make the most of your time with your pharmacist-especially when starting a new medication-you should ask the following questions:
I’m taking several medications – what do I need to know?
Your pharmacist can’t give you the most accurate information about your new treatment if you don’t let him or her know what you’re already taking. If you are taking multiple medications for one or more chronic conditions, you should talk to a pharmacist whenever there is a change in your medication regimen to check for possible drug interactions, drug overlap or gaps in care. Of course, your allergies should be at the top of this list of questions to resolve with the pharmacist.
Could this medication interact with my vitamins and supplements?
When discussing your new medication with your pharmacist, be sure to mention all the vitamins and supplements you are currently taking. Understand this in a broad sense: if you usually take, for example, some herbal tea to help you sleep or to aid digestion, talk to your pharmacist about everything you add to your regular diet, especially when you are prescribed any new medications to confirm that these non-prescription supplements will not interfere with your medications.
Could this medication cause me to fall on the floor?
It’s important to know if the new medication could make you dizzy or drowsy. And that’s not all: there are other hazards in the home that can cause a fall, especially as you age and need to get up frequently during the night. A pharmacist can give home safety tips to prevent an accident.
I sometimes forget to take my medications, what system works?
Everyone has their own preferred methods of staying on top of things, but if you have trouble remembering to take your medications, your pharmacist can suggest digital tools, such as a mobile reminder app, to keep you from forgetting to take your medications.
Are there any more affordable options for my prescription?
Prescription drugs can be extremely expensive, especially if they are not covered by health insurance that will pick up the tab. So if you are having a hard time paying for your prescription, ask your pharmacist if there are other options, such as generic drugs, equivalent but less expensive drugs from other brands, or some sort of specials or discounts.
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