Ask Your Pharmacist
Did you know that your pharmacist is more than someone who fills prescriptions? They are a key member of your healthcare team. The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy reminds you that your pharmacist is ready to listen and help.
An important member of your health care team is as close as your local drugstore. With nearly 9 in 10 Americans living within 5 miles of a community pharmacy, your pharmacist may be the health professional you see most often and talk with about your health. Pharmacists can work closely with your doctor or nurse to give you expert information and guidance about your health and any health conditions you may have.
Your pharmacist can help support your health by:
- Talking to you about your medicine. Your pharmacist can explain the small print—what the medicine is for, how best to use it, what side effects you may experience, and what to do if you have side effects.
- Suggesting ways to help you take your medicine. Your pharmacist can help you learn how to take your medicines as directed as well as solve any problems you might have in doing this. For example, your pharmacist can suggest routines or tools such as a daily pillbox to help you take your medicine at the right time in the right dose. Your pharmacist can also help connect you to prescription discounts and aid programs.
- Talking to you about medicine safety. Your pharmacist can give you important advice on which over-the-counter medicines, such as pain medicines and dietary supplements, are safe to use in combination with your prescription medicines.
- Identifying or managing health problems. For example, if you get your blood pressure checked at the drugstore, share your numbers with your pharmacist. Your pharmacist can talk to you about your risk for high blood pressure, help you monitor your blood pressure, and direct you to medical care if needed. Your pharmacist can also consult your doctor to ensure you get the best treatment available.
- Helping you manage other health conditions. Pharmacists can provide immunizations, like yearly flu shots, and teach you how to use health equipment such as blood glucose monitors if you have diabetes and inhalers if you have asthma.
Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist
- What is this medicine supposed to do?
- How and when should I take it?
- What are possible side effects? What should I do if I get them?
- Should I avoid certain activities, like driving or running?
- Should I avoid certain foods while taking the medicine, such as milk products or grapefruit?
- If I’m having problems with this medicine, when should I call my doctor?
- Can you give me a list of my prescribed medicines?