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What Can Your Pharmacist Do for You?

Who should you turn to with questions about your medicines? The answer is your pharmacist.  But you may not be familiar with what your pharmacist can do for you. Your doctor and your pharmacist are a powerful team, working to ensure the best selection and management of your prescription and nonprescription medicines.

Taking your medicines correctly is one of the best ways to decrease your health care costs. Each year, thousands of people end up in the hospital, fail to get better, and waste money because they did not take their medicines properly.

Pharmacists are the medication experts.  They do much more than count tablets and pour liquids. For each prescription dispensed, your retail pharmacist must check to see that the information provided by the prescriber is complete, that the new medication will not interact with other medications you are taking, that the medication and dosage are appropriate for your health condition and age and that you understand the proper way to take the medication.

Ultimately, you have the responsibility for managing your health care, but your pharmacist can help if you keep him or her up-to-date about your health and the medications take. For this reason, it is important to use the same pharmacy for all of your prescription services, especially when seeing multiple health care providers. This ensures that your pharmacist has access to your complete medication history when checking for problems or possible interactions.

You also should check with your pharmacist before taking any nonprescription medicines. Even though they do not require a physician's prescription, nonprescription medicines are powerful and can, if taken improperly, adversely interact with your prescription medications or badly affect another health condition. Make sure your pharmacist is aware of any allergies to medications so adverse reactions can be prevented.

By working together with your pharmacist, you can be sure that your medications are taken safely, effectively, and appropriately to maintain your good health. Pharmacists are always available to advise you about your medications.  You just need to ask them.

Author:  adapted from American Pharmacists Association 2014

Last reviewed 12/17/20