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The Pharmacist Is in! Five Questions to Ask

Consumers often have questions and concerns about medicines prescribed to them. The local pharmacist may have an easy answer.

ST. PETERSBURG - From high blood pressure to diabetes, up to half of Americans with chronic medical conditions don't follow their medical therapy after three months. A quarter never fill their first prescription.

Going to the doctor can be a hassle, even tedious for someone living with a chronic medical problem.

Many people don't realize their neighborhood pharmacist may have answers to questions and concerns, instead of having to wait weeks for a doctor's appointment, only to get a few minutes with a physician.

Here are five tips by CVS Pharmacist Susan Gordon of Florida on questions patients can ask to get a conversation started with their pharmacist.

1.) How do I take my medication correctly? Knowing how and when to take a medication will help to maximize its effect. For example, some drugs are best taken with food or at bedtime.

2.) What are possible side effects? A pharmacist can tell you about possible side effects, how likely they are to occur, and what to do if they happen. Side effects often go away or can be managed with simple measures. Others are more serious. You should know the risks and what to look out for when taking prescribed drugs.

3.) Why is it important to stick to my medication therapy? As your pharmacist will explain, medicine only works when it is taken as directed, and not doing so may lead to poor health and extra medical costs.

4.) Are there  potential drug interactions with the medications I am already taking? Some drugs do not interact well with others, and can result in a decrease in effectiveness or even an increase in the toxicity of the drug. Your pharmacist can help reduce the risk of dangerous drug interactions. It’s best to bring all of your prescriptions to one pharmacy, creating a “pharmacy home.” Make your pharmacist aware of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you take. 

5.) How can I save money on prescription drugs? Your pharmacist can inform you about less expensive, generic alternatives to brand-name drugs, or about other cost-saving options, such as using a mail-order pharmacy.

Looking for a drug store? Check the Patch directory of pharmacies in Gulfport.

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