How to best prepare for a consultation with your pharmacist

As a drug and healthcare specialist, your pharmacist can lend a hand in many situations. You can help your pharmacist to help you. 

Here is some advice that will help you to optimize the time you spend at the pharmacy and to make things easier for you and your pharmacist:

1

Set aside some time

When you go to the pharmacy, make sure you have a little time ahead of you, since you cannot foresee exactly how much time your visit will last. Your pharmacist and the pharmacy staff make an effort to serve their clients quickly, but they must perform various tasks and often have a heavy workload. Moreover, they must be careful not to make any mistakes and to identify and prevent any problems related to medication.

If you have set aside some time, it will make it easier to wait your turn and you will be able to fully exchange with your pharmacist. He/she will likely want to give you information concerning your medication and perhaps ask you some questions to ensure that you get the most out of your treatment.

2

Get the most out of your appointment at the doctor’s office

When you are in the doctor’s office, the minutes often tick by very quickly. Have you ever left the doctor’s office and thought “Oh, no, I forget to ask this or that!”? To avoid this type of situation and to be more efficient, prepare a list of questions or topics that you would like to discuss during the consultation. Ask your doctor to give you the exact name of the health issues affecting you, you can then give this information to your pharmacist. He/she will then ensure that you have been prescribed the appropriate treatments.

Always make sure you understand why a medication has been prescribed to you. Also, you can be your own “prescription refill manager”. Because medications are prescribed for a set period of time, make sure that the prescription does not run out before your next doctor’s appointment. This precaution also applies to medications you take only as needed.

How to best prepare for a consultation with your pharmacist

3

Identify your needs

Before going to the pharmacy, make a written list of the things you need. If you have to have some medications refilled, write down the names or prescription numbers. Ideally, you should memorize the names of your medications and be able to recognize them to reduce the risk of confusion. If you wish to buy a product recommended to you by someone or one that is meant for someone else, make sure you know the name of it and have as much information as possible about it, before you go to the pharmacy. There may be a multitude of similar products and several formulations with the same brand name.

How to best prepare for a consultation with your pharmacist

4

Ask the right questions

When starting a new medication, it is important to be well-informed about it. You should get answers from the pharmacist to the following questions concerning your medication:

  • What is the name of the medication?
  • What are its effects and after how long will you be able to observe them?
  • What is the dosage?
  • When should you take it and for how long?
  • How should it be taken?
  • What are the most common side effects?
  • Is there a risk of interaction with the other medications you are taking?
  • How should it be stored?

If you have any other questions about the medication or your health, write them down before you meet with the pharmacist, so you don’t forget.

5

Keep the information concerning your medications

At the pharmacy, you have what is called a “pharmacologic record”. This is a computerized record that contains all of the data concerning your medications and any other information the pharmacist has collected about your health. This information can be useful to you, your pharmacist or any other healthcare professional. It is important to keep it up to date and as thorough as possible.

If you use an over-the-counter medication, a natural health product, or any type of supplement, you should let your pharmacist know, so he/she can add it to your health record. In addition, you should tell your pharmacist about any significant or relevant event that affects your health or lifestyle.

It is advisable to choose your pharmacy in terms of quality of service and trust. You should avoid going to several pharmacies because this can complicate your health follow-up and increase the risk of confusion. Ask your pharmacist to give you an up-dated list of your medications and always keep it at reach.

One thing is for sure, it is up to you to manage your own health. However, it’s good to be able to count on your pharmacist and to work together as a team. Consult your pharmacist often!

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How to best prepare for a consultation with your pharmacist

As a drug and healthcare specialist, your pharmacist can lend a hand in many situations. You can help your pharmacist to help you.
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