Utilize pharmacist as a health information resource
Today’s pharmacists are highly educated, trained and ready to answer your questions regarding your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
Although the traditional role of a pharmacist is drug dispensing, they perform many other duties such as verifying accuracy of orders, checking against drug interactions and allergies, providing drug information to medical professionals and patients/caregivers, counseling patients, monitoring compliance, following-up on adverse drug reactions, consulting with medical teams, and supervising technical staff. Many pharmacies also are open during extended evening and weekend hours when your doctor’s office is closed.
“Even though you and your health care provider can determine if the benefits of your prescription therapy outweigh the risk of side effects, your pharmacist can further help describe the effects of your medication in more detail,” says Anna Brozick, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “Even with regulation, patients can have an unexpected reaction to their approved prescription and non-prescription (OTC vitamins, minerals and supplements) medications.”
Dr. Brozick recommends keeping personal medical records accurate and updated. Knowing your prescription plan(s) and bringing a list to your doctor’s appointments when possible will help avoid delays at the pharmacy.
Additional tips include the following:
- Know all the medications you take (prescriptions, OTC medications, prescriptions taken as needed, vitamins, herbs, etc.). Prepare a complete, ongoing list to share with all health care providers. Include on the list the drug name, dose strength, frequency and route.
- Know what chronic diseases you have.
- Provide a list of your medication allergies.
- Keep a list of all your doctors, their specialties and their phone numbers.
“It is also important to know the name of your prescription insurance carrier and their benefits telephone numbers,” says Dr. Brozick, also director of Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences. “Usually, there are multiple telephone numbers for your prescription insurance carrier, including a patient/member line, a telephone line for pharmacies, a telephone line for prior authorizations and a telephone line for other health care providers. Each telephone line is likely to have different hours of operation and usually cannot be transferred from one line to the next. Be patient at the retail pharmacy.”