Must Ask Questions for Your Pharmacist
In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to lose track of the various medications and supplements that the senior in your life might be taking. As a matter of fact, about half of the 3.8 billion (yes, I said billion) prescriptions that are taken in the United States are taken incorrectly. To me, that’s a frightening statistic. This includes errors around timing, dosage, frequency, and duration.
So, what can be done? Because seniors sometimes see a variety of doctors, the best place to start is with the pharmacist. People usually have all their prescriptions filled at one location. A complete review of the full medication list by the pharmacist is the starting point. Once you’re sure that all medications are still needed (and old medications have been disposed of properly) and there are no issues with drug interactions, here are questions that you should be asking to ensure that medications are being taken safely:
- What are the risks, benefits, and side effects?
- How much does this medication cost (is there an effective generic form) and is it covered by insurance?
- Are there any special conditions that should be considered when taking this medication? Should it be taken at a certain time of day, should it be taken with food or on an empty stomach, etc.).
- How long will it take to reach the full therapeutic value of this medication? Hours? Days? Weeks? Knowing when to expect results is important.
- How long will they have to take this medication? Is the condition easily treated or is it a chronic condition that will require medication for a long period of time?
- Are there any alternatives for this medication?
Pharmacists offer a wealth of knowledge and are a wonderful resource so don’t hesitate to talk to them about any and all medications and supplements.