Pharmacists play a key role in your healthcare: you rely on them for expert advice about the medication that you take and about how to stay healthy. Do not hesitate to discuss questions or concerns with your pharmacist.
Prescription medications can help you stay healthy and manage or treat a medical condition, but it is important to understand how to use medications correctly. Keep the following pharmacy FAQ list in mind the next time you visit your pharmacy.
1. Can This Medication Interact with Other Medications?
If you take any prescription or nonprescription medications, ask your pharmacist about potential interactions with your new prescription. Keep in mind that supplements and certain foods and drinks can also interact with some medications. When in doubt, pose the question to your pharmacist.
2. What Are the Side Effects of This Medication?
Ask your pharmacist about possible side effects that can occur with your medication. Find out which side effects are most common and which ones are considered serious enough to require immediate medical help. Pharmacists are trained in the chemistry of your medicine, so they know the science behind why a medication will produce certain side effects.
3. Are There Any Special Instructions I Should Know About?
Your pharmacist can let you know if there is anything out of the ordinary that you should know about your medication, such as whether or not you should avoid driving after taking it or whether or not it should be taken with food or on an empty stomach.
4. What Is the Right Way to Store This Medication?
The way medications are stored can have an impact on their effectiveness. Some medications need to be refrigerated, but a safe answer is to store your medicine in a cool, dry environment. Often, people store their medicine in the bathroom, but this leads to exposure to heat and humidity which can cause medicine to degrade. Ask your pharmacist about the correct way to store your specific medication.
5. What Should I Do if I Miss a Dose?
If you miss a dose of medication, do not assume that you should double up on your next dose. This can be dangerous with certain medications. Instead, call your pharmacy and follow the advice of your pharmacist.
6. How Long Should I Take This Medication?
Some medications, such as antibiotics, need to be taken until the whole prescription is finished. Others only need to be taken for as long as your symptoms last. Your pharmacist can let you know when it is safe for you to stop taking your medication.
7. Can I Break Pills in Half?
Often, pills and tablets can be broken in half, but others should be taken whole. Otherwise, these medications are unable to work as effectively as they should. Your pharmacist will know the details about your medication and whether or not you can break up pills or if they need to be taken whole.
8. Does This Medication Have a Generic Version?
If the cost of your medication is too high, ask your pharmacist if there is a generic version that you can take instead. Generic medications are considerably lower in cost than brand name medications. Sometimes, pharmacies are aware of generics that you may not know about, so a pharmacist is a good resource for finding less expensive versions of the same medicine.
9. Is This Medication Safe to Take if I Have Allergies or Another Medical Condition?
Some medications can have an adverse effect if you have certain allergies or underlying medical conditions. Ask your pharmacist if your medication is safe to take if you have any allergies or medical conditions, as they are trained to recognize and help you avoid medicines that could lead problems from pre-existing allergies or from an interaction with another one of your medications.
10. When and How Should I Dispose of This Medication?
In general, you should get rid of medications that have reached their expiration date. But people often wonder how to do so—often, you will hear conflicting advice about what to do with medicine that you no longer need. In this case, you should see your pharmacist about how to safely dispose of your medication. In Benton, Arkansas, you can dispose of your unused medications at the Benton Police Department as part of their Drug Take Back program.
If you have more questions to ask a pharmacist, please contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-315-7700. We encourage you to treat your pharmacist at Smith-Caldwell Drug Store as a valuable reserve of knowledge and always feel free to ask questions about your medications. Our compounding pharmacy in Benton offers custom medications for a wide range of health issues.