Who do you go to for medical advice? Your doctor? Of course. Your chiropractor or physical therapist? Sure. Maybe even your acupuncturist. But you might be leaving one of the richest resources off that list — your pharmacist.
In order to understand how all medications work, how to prevent or minimize side effects, how to adjust doses, and to account for all the variables in your life that may interfere with your medication, pharmacists study for eight years to earn their Doctor of Pharmacy degree. When it comes to your prescription, pharmacists often know more than your doctor does.
At Calvary Urgent Care, our team values pharmacists so much, we’ve made them part of our team. We have a full-service pharmacy here in our facility to offer you a trusted, knowledgeable, convenient professional should you need a prescription filled after your visit with us.
But don’t stop there. We encourage you to get to know our pharmacists and begin a relationship that will ensure your health and safety for years to come. And don’t be afraid to let them know if you have any concerns; they love helping people. For starters, here are some questions you might want to ask our pharmacists.
What does this medication do?
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people simply do as they’re told and swallow the pills that are prescribed to them without really knowing what they do. You might understand on a basic level that one pill stops pain and another lowers your blood pressure, but the science is much more complex than that.
Our pharmacists can tell you how the medication interacts with your blood, your cells, and your organs to achieve the desired results. Knowing what’s happening in your body biologically helps you appreciate the process and know what to expect. They can also explain what to look for, so you know when your medication is working for you and when it’s not.
Does this drug have side effects?
This is a loaded question, because so many variables come into play: age, health conditions, other medications, genetics, hormones, diet, weight, lifestyle, etc. A medication that makes you feel drowsy may make another person hyperactive. What upsets your stomach may have no such effect on someone else.
This is why it’s important to build a relationship with your pharmacist. The more they know about you and how you typically respond to medications, the better they can prepare you for the new prescription.
Should I avoid other medications while taking this new one?
Many medications that are incredibly effective alone, can be nullified if taken together with certain other medications. Your pharmacist is a fount of knowledge when it comes to drug interactions.
But when you tell them about your other medications, make sure you tell them about any and all supplements you take, including vitamins, as some vitamins inhibit your medication and some medication may inhibit your vitamin absorption.
What happens if I miss a dose?
It happens to the best of us, no matter how diligent we are. Missing a dose is easy to do, whether you’re just not used to taking medication, you have so many pills to take it’s hard to keep track, or you just plain forget.
Each medication has a specific purpose and a specific protocol if you miss a dose. Ask your pharmacist if you should double up on your next dose, just proceed as if you hadn’t missed a dose, or if there’s a better way to handle it.
What are my options if I can’t swallow pills?
Pills can be tricky to swallow, and some people never get the hang of it or have a condition that makes it difficult.
Your pharmacist needs to know these things so they can offer you alternative delivery systems if available. For instance, your medication may also come in a liquid or a patch.
Do I need to alter my diet or activities while taking this medication?
This is a great question! You may know that some medications can make you feel drowsy, and therefore you shouldn’t drive your car, fly a plane, or operate a forklift. But heavy machinery isn’t the only thing you might need to avoid.
Some medications work best when taken with food, others like an empty tummy, and some need to be taken with a full glass of water. There are medications that don’t interact well with certain foods like grapefruit, and some that rebel when you get too much sun.
Tell your pharmacists about your daily lifestyle and eating habits to find out if there’s anything in your routine that you might need to adjust while taking your new prescription.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Our pharmacists are happy to answer these and all your other medication-related questions. Simply come in for a chat, call our office, or schedule an appointment online today.