Article at a Glance
- Your pharmacist is an excellent resource for questions about your prescription and how it might interact with other medications or supplements.
- Make sure you understand and take note of all instructions regarding how to take prescription medication.
- You can call and ask your pharmacist any questions you might have, even after you have filled your prescription and gone home.
An often-overlooked resource is your local pharmacist. Pharmacists not only fill prescriptions but have spent years in school learning about medications and how they work. Many pharmacists have completed a 6-to 8-year doctorate program and are required to take continuing education courses to stay up to date.
Did you know?
- Did you know that your pharmacist is available to answer questions whenever you have them? If you forgot to ask a question or if a question pops up later, feel free to call.
- Did you know that your pharmacy should keep track of your family’s prescribed medications? If you can’t remember what type of medications have been prescribed for your child in the past, you can ask. If you change pharmacies or move, make sure that you request a copy of your pharmaceutical history to share with your new pharmacist.
- Did you know that your pharmacist can help you get additional information or literature about a medication?
- Did you know that you can call your pharmacist to find out how an over-the-counter medication might react with others medications or with a prescription you are currently taking?
- Did you know that some pharmacies offer counseling rooms where you can talk to the pharmacist in private?
Questions to ask when filling your prescription
When filling your prescription, be sure to ask your pharmacist about any important information you need to know. For example, find out:
- If your child might have an allergic reaction to a medicine. Be sure to share any allergies with your pharmacist.
- If the medication will react with any other prescriptions or over-the-counter medications your child is taking, including any vitamins or herbal supplements.
- If there are any activities or foods your child should avoid while taking the medication. For example, some medications don’t interact well with grapefruit or milk, or some can make you more sensitive to the sun.
- If your child needs to finish the entire prescription or if you should only give it to your child as needed. For example, you have to finish all the prescribed antibiotics for them to be effective, but with pain medicine you only have to take it if you need it.
- If you need to store the medicine in a special way. Some medications might need to be stored in the refrigerator. You also don’t want to store medications in your medicine cabinet in the bathroom because the moisture coming from the shower can make the medication less effective.
- If you should take the medication at a certain time of day and if it should be taken with or without food. You will also want to know what to do if you miss a dose.
- If it is okay to crush the pills up and mix them with other foods. Don’t mix medications in baby bottles because if your child doesn’t drink the entire bottle, he or she won’t get a full dose. Mixing medications up in your child’s school lunch is also very dangerous. Your child might not finish the food or might share it with somebody else. Medications taken at school should always be administered by the school nurse.
- If there are any side effects you should watch for and what you should do if they occur.
- If your child can abruptly stop taking a medication or if the medication needs to be stopped gradually.
- If the medication can be taken in another form if your child is averse to taking pills or dislikes the flavor of the medication.
- If they have a medical syringe you can use to measure the dose of any liquid medications. Studies show that parents often get the wrong dose when they use household measuring or dinner spoons. If you believe your child has gotten the wrong dose, call your doctor or pharmacist to find out what to do next.
Other important things to know about your prescription
- Make sure you fully understand any instructions.
- Throw away any old medication and don’t share it with others. It can be very dangerous to give a medication to somebody it wasn’t prescribed to.
- If you are getting a refill, make sure the medication looks the same. If it looks different, ask the pharmacist to make sure it is the same medication at the right dosage.
- Keep all medications out of the reach of children, even teenagers. Prescription medication abuse is becoming a serious problem, with many teenagers acquiring the pills from their parents.
- Don’t repackage medications. It is important to keep them in the original container so that you have the instructions, dosage, and expiration date on hand. Especially don’t repackage medications into containers that aren’t childproof.
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