Here are some safety tips about medications to keep in mind when you are at the pharmacy ...
Your visit to the pharmacy is an important but often unappreciated step in maintaining your health and that of your family. Consumers have a wide array of over-the-counter medications to choose from. Many of the medications now available without a prescription were previously available only after a visit or phone call to your health-care provider.
This open access to medications provides you with the ability to rapidly self-medicate a variety of common ailments. But the open access also exposes you to potential harm if you don't use such medications correctly. Before you take any medication, including herbals and dietary supplements, read the label. Make certain that you know what the medication is used for, what the dose is, what warnings exist and what side effects you may experience.
If you have any questions, speak with the pharmacist. Pharmacists are trained in drug therapy issues and can advise you on what over-the-counter medications may be best for you. People with chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes should not take some medications. Many over-the-counter medications, herbals and dietary supplements can interact with prescription medications. So it is important that you understand which medication is best and how to take it safely.
Much of the same advice holds true when you are picking up a prescription medication. Most pharmacies across the country have computerized records of your prescriptions. But those records are only useful if you get all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy. So make certain that your pharmacist knows about all of the medications you take. The pharmacist needs to have a listing of all of your medications to check for medication interactions and to make certain that the medication prescribed is best for you.
Because many people see different health-care providers for different conditions, the pharmacist's role is very important to your safety. In many instances, the pharmacist may be the only person besides you who has a complete listing of the medications you take. It is also important that you make certain that the pharmacist knows about any medication allergies or food allergies you may have and any medication-related complications you may have had in the past. You should keep a list of all of the medications you take and all of the medication reactions you may have had, unless you can recall all of them quickly.
You have an important role to play when you pick up your prescription at the pharmacy. Although very few people take advantage of the opportunity, you should always speak with the pharmacist when you start a new prescription. Taking a new medication is equivalent to an experiment. Although medical professionals know how medications work and how most people will respond, people are different because of their genetics, the disease they have and the other medications they take. So it is important that you know the answers to the following:
Although it happens rarely, pharmacies sometimes make mistakes and give out the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication. Pharmacies have many safeguards to make certain that your prescription is filled correctly, that you have the right medication at the right strength. And pharmacists are trained to dispense medications.
But unfortunately, errors can and do occur. So it is important to ask about any changes in your medications. If the color or shape of the tablet or capsule is different, ask.