You’ve just left the doctor’s office with Mom. She is forwarding a new prescription to the drug store which should be ready by the time you get there. Your plan is to zip through the drive-through window, pick up the medication, and take Mom to lunch. But is there a step you’re missing?
What Questions Should You Ask Your Pharmacist When Filling a New Prescription?
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You’ll want to find out the potential side effects to watch for, and if observed, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing doctor. It’s equally important to understand if there are any long-term risks associated with the medication, as well as the benefits to be gained.
- How long does it take the medication to begin to be effective? Find out whether or not the person will notice the effects right away, or if the medication needs to build up with time before it starts to have an impact. Learning the expectations will prevent a call to the doctor to report that it’s not effective, or even worse, simply stopping the medication entirely.
- Does the medicine need to be taken long-term? Find out whether the medication is intended to treat an acute medical condition in a short period of time, or if it needs to be taken ongoing for a chronic condition. The pharmacist can advise you on which category the medication falls in.
- What is the cost, and will insurance cover it? If the full cost is not covered by Medicare or a private insurance plan, determine if the prescription is offered in a less costly generic form. The pharmacist can counsel you on the effectiveness of a generic type.
- How and when should the medication be taken? This is particularly important to learn. Some prescription drugs have to be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day can also be a factor. At times, a pill should be taken whole; in other cases, it may be cut in half or crushed and mixed with applesauce or yogurt to disguise the taste. Or it may be available in a liquid form that may be easier for the person to take.
Consider any other specific questions you might want to ask the pharmacist, and come equipped with a list in hand. Advocating for an older loved one in this manner can prevent complications and ensure the person is getting the most out of their prescription drugs.
Anthem Home Care’s care experts are also here to help. Our trusted care team can pick up prescriptions and ensure that any and all questions are answered. We also provide friendly companionship and are on hand to monitor for any changes in condition or unpleasant side effects from a new medication. Additionally, we can provide medication reminders to ensure prescription medications are taken precisely as instructed.