Health Tips from a Mother of Three

Three Important Questions To Ask When Filling A Prescription

Filling a prescription is fairly easy nowadays; you can even have your medications delivered to your doorstep. If you were prescribed medicine that you have never taken before, though, it's a good idea to visit a pharmacy in person and ask a pharmacist these three important questions to protect your health.

What Is the Dosing Schedule?

Your doctor will usually say how many times you should take the medicine, but they may not put it in terms you can fully understand. For instance, they may tell you take the pills three times a day, but how many hours should pass between doses? Will you have to interrupt your sleep schedule to take a dose? How do meal times factor in?

Pharmacists are a good source of dosing information if you didn't have the time or foresight to ask your doctor for details. They can advise you on how long to wait between taking the meds to avoid overdosing issues, whether the drug must be evenly distributed throughout the day (meaning you might have to wake up to take a dose), and what to do if you miss a dose.

The information you obtain from the pharmacist can be invaluable in helping you plan your day and manage your health, so take full advantage of their knowledge and experience when filling your prescription.

How Will the Drug Interact With Other Medications or Foods?

According to a government survey, 34 percent of adults take up to 4 medications and supplements, and about 11 percent take 5 or more. While there are a variety of beneficial reasons people may be on a multiple-medication regimen, the reality is that more meds mean an increased risk of harmful drug interactions.

Ideally, your doctor would know beforehand how the drug they're prescribing you would react to other medications. Unfortunately, sometimes these things get overlooked, particularly if you're being treated by a new healthcare provider or the doctor doesn't have access to your medical records for some reason.

Thus, it's a good idea to follow up with a pharmacist about possible negative reactions that may occur when you take the new medication with other drugs or even certain foods. For instance, grapefruit juice has been known to interfere with the effectiveness of a variety of medicines. If you're prescribed one of them, then you'll have to avoid the fruit and its juice while you're taking the medication.

Be aware that you will have to disclose information about other medications you're taking and your diet to the pharmacist. However, if the pharmacist does identify a problem, many times the person can suggest an alternative and/or contact the doctor to fix the problem, which can save you time and money.

What Type of Lifestyle Changes Should You Expect?

Some meds may require you to make lifestyle changes to maximize their effectiveness, while others may have side effects that have a negative impact on your life. Because pharmacists dispense a lot of medicines and talk to a lot of people during the day, they usually have a good idea about which ones are likely to cause trouble for patients.

For instance, a drug may be a known diuretic, which means it'll increase your urine production and cause you to go to the bathroom more often. Depending on your lifestyle, this can result in significant disruption in your day; this disruption may be easier to manage if you know about it ahead of time.

If you have questions or concerns about medication you have been prescribed by your doctor, a pharmacist is a good source to tap into for information. For assistance with your current medicines or help with other medication-related issues, contact your local pharmacist.