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Medication Questions? Ask the Pharmacist

Choosing Your Pharmacy

image for pill splitting articleYou should choose your pharmacy with the same care you take in choosing a doctor. Although it's not uncommon to see more than one doctor, it's best to use only one pharmacy so all medication records are at one location. On your first visit to the pharmacy, take a few moments to answer questions regarding your medical history. A complete and accurate medication record will alert the pharmacist to any drug allergies, any conditions that may have an effect on the drugs you take, and any adverse effects you experienced from drugs in the past. This will also enable the pharmacist to detect any harmful drug interactions, and to avoid duplicate orders.

Questions to Ask

You should be able to answer the following questions before taking any new medication. Although each medication comes with instructions, your pharmacist should be available to answer any or all of the following questions in more depth and in language that is easier to understand.

Most liquid medications come with a measuring device. Make sure you have one before you leave the pharmacy. If you don't have one, ask the pharmacist how to measure out the dose you need. Do not use tableware, such as a tablespoon, because each one is made differently.

Some More Helpful Tips

RESOURCES:

American Pharmacists Association
http://www.pharmacytoday.org

National Institute on Aging
https://www.nia.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Pharmacists Association
http://www.pharmacists.ca

College of Pharmacists of British Columbia
http://www.bcpharmacists.org

REFERENCES:

How to dispose of unused medicines. Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm. Updated April 27, 2016. Accessed July 22, 2016.

Know your prescriptions. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient-involvement/healthy-men/prescriptions/index.html. Updated December 2012. Accessed July 22, 2016.

Medications: using them safely. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/medication_safety.html. Updated January 2015. Accessed July 22, 2016.

Stop, learn, go: Tips for talking with your pharmacist to learn how to use medicines safely. Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/ucm163330.htm. Updated August 30, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2016.

Last reviewed July 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 7/22/2016