Know your pharmacist…Know your
medicine

Picture of pharmacist for article about questions for pharmacist

If you are like many Americans, you are on a first-name basis with your hairdresser, barber, maybe even your car mechanic or dry cleaner. But do you know the first name of your pharmacist? A study done by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) found that approximately one-third of consumers know their pharmacist’s name.

The study found that people who know their pharmacist’s name may be safer with their medicines.

These people are more likely to:

  • Tell their pharmacist the names of other medicines they take
  • Read product labels
  • Know the main (active) ingredients of the prescription medicines they are taking
  • Use their pharmacist as a source of information on both prescription and nonprescription (over the-counter) medicines

Your pharmacist can help you learn how to use your prescription and nonprescription medicines safely to help increase their chances of working better and to help decrease possible side effects that you may experience

Tell your pharmacist:

  • Every medicine you use. Keep a record and give it to your pharmacist. Make sure you include all the prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, herbals, and other supplements you use. Your pharmacist will use this to keep his/her records up-to-date and help you use medicine safely.
  • If you’ve had any allergic reactions or problems with medicines, taking medicines along with diet supplements, certain types of food, or other treatments
  • Anything that could affect your use of medicine, such as if you have trouble swallowing, reading labels, remembering to use medicine, or paying for medicine.
  • Before you start using a new medicine. Your pharmacist can help you avoid medicines,supplements, foods, and other things that shouldn’t be taken with your medicines.
  • If you are pregnant, might become pregnant, or if you are breast feeding.

Ask your pharmacist:

  • What are the brand and generic (non-brand) names?
  • What is this for, and how is it going to help me?
  • How and when should I use it? How much do I use?
  • How long should I use it? Can I stop using the medicine or use less if I feel better?
  • What should I do if I …miss a dose? …use too much?
  • When will the medicine start working? How should I expect to feel?
  • Is there anything I should watch for, like allergic reactions or side effects? What do I do if I get any?
  • How and where should I keep this medicine?
  • Is there a medication guide or other patient information for this medicine?

Take a simple step towards safer use of your medicines: Introduce yourself to your pharmacist and learn his or her first name.

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