Working With The Pharmacist

Your loved one’s pharmacist can be a great source of information and help with medication safety.

Many individuals see their pharmacist only when picking up a prescription, and, therefore, have little contact with this type of medical professional. This is unfortunate because a pharmacist can be one of the most important components in your loved one’s team of medical professionals. The pharmacist can:

  • Give expert advice on over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Provide you with information about the possible drug interactions, proper use, and side effects of medications.
  • Verify what your loved one’s doctor said about his or her medication.
  • Clear up any confusion or answer any questions pertaining to your loved one’s medication.
  • Help monitor the medications that your loved one takes by using a patient medication profile.

Patient Medication Profiles

What is a patient medication profile and why would you want a pharmacy to keep one? A patient medical profile is a current list of all medications prescribed for an individual, any allergies the individual has, and any information relevant to an individual’s ability to safely take medications. If your pharmacy keeps a current patient medication profile then the pharmacist will check it during each visit.

In general, a patient medication profile allows the pharmacist to:

  • Make sure that your loved one isn’t allergic to any prescribed medications
  • Make sure that prescribed medications are appropriate for your loved one’s medical history
  • Keep your loved one from taking medications that might interact—this is especially important if more than one doctor has prescribed medicine for your loved one
  • Monitor your loved one’s use of the medication to make sure that it is taken regularly and refilled on time
  • Give you better advice about additional over-the-counter medications
  • Inform a new doctor or pharmacist about your loved one’s medication history

Finding The Right Pharmacist

Because the pharmacist is such an important part of your loved one’s medical team, it is important to select a pharmacy carefully. Additionally, it is important to use the same pharmacy to fill all of your loved one’s prescriptions. Here are some questions you might want to consider when shopping for a pharmacy.

  1. Will the pharmacy keep a patient profile for your loved one?
  2. If so, how will the profile be used? Will the pharmacy keep it only for tax purposes, or will the pharmacist use the profile to screen for possible drug interactions that your loved one might have?
  3. Will the pharmacy check the patient profile each time you visit? If not, how often does the pharmacy check the patient profile?
  4. Will the pharmacist take time to explain your loved one’s medicine to you and answer any question you may have?

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