Your health care involves a team, including your doctor, your insurance provider, and your pharmacist. Pharmacists are a crucial part of your health care team and are commonly considered among the most trusted and accessible health care professionals.
A 2017 survey found that 55 percent of Americans regularly take a prescription medicine, and those who use a prescription drug take four on average.
This has made patients more connected to their pharmacists than ever. To learn more about how Americans engage with their pharmacists on a day-to-day basis, CVS Pharmacy conducted a poll among nearly 2,000 voters. The results showed that 69 percent of voters visit the pharmacy at least once a month, which offers many opportunities for pharmacists to counsel and advise on health care matters.
Take advantage of the opportunity to get important information when you visit the pharmacy. If you have questions about your medicine after you leave the doctor’s office, the pharmacist can answer many of them. For example, a pharmacist can tell you how and when to take your medicine, whether a drug may change how another medicine you are taking works, and any side effects you might have. Also, the pharmacist can answer questions about over-the-counter medications.
The National Institutes of Health has many tips on what you can get out of your next pharmacy visit:
- Have all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy so your records are in one place. The pharmacist will keep track of all your medications and will be able to tell you if a new drug might cause problems. If you can’t use just one pharmacy, show the new pharmacist your list of medicines and over-the-counter drugs when you drop off your prescription
- Tell the pharmacist if you have trouble swallowing pills. There might be liquid medicine available. Do not chew, break, or crush tablets without finding out if the drug will still work
- Make sure you can read and understand the name of the medicine and the directions on the container and on the color-coded warning stickers on the bottle. If the label is hard to read, ask your pharmacist to use larger type
- Check that you can open the container. If not, ask the pharmacist to put your medicines in bottles that are easier to open
- Ask about special instructions on where to store a medicine. For example, should it be kept in the refrigerator or in a dry place?
- Check the label on your medicine before leaving the pharmacy. It should have your name on it and the directions given by your doctor. If it doesn’t, don’t take it, and talk with the pharmacist
In any sport, teams win because they work together. The same thing applies to your health. Work with every member of your health care team to get the most out of your care—and that includes your pharmacist!