It’s Important To Talk To Your Pharmacist About Your Prescriptions


The California State Board of Pharmacy recognizes and acknowledges the important role prescription and other medicine plays in our overall health.

Over-the-counter drugs, vitamin and herbal remedies, as well as prescription medications are all forms of medicines patients should understand. The Board of Pharmacy promotes the need for patients to educate themselves about prescription medication, dosages, side-effects and reactions from taking and mixing their medicines.

The best way to use medicines safely and appropriately is to be well-informed with good, reliable information and to aggressively ask questions of your pharmacist, especially when a new medicine is prescribed. Many people fail to realize the health care professional with the most accurate and latest information about their medicine is their pharmacist.

The Board of Pharmacy requires pharmacists to provide oral consultation to a patient or a patient’s representative for all newly prescribed medicines as well as whenever a previously prescribed medicine shows a change in dosage, form, strength or has new directions for use.

Before taking your medicine, be sure you know:

  • The name of your medicine and what it does
  • How and when to take it, for how long, and what to do if you miss a dose
  • Possible side effects and what you should do if they occur
  • Whether the new medicine will work safely with other medicines or supplements
  • What foods, drinks or activities should be avoided while taking the medicine?

Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.

The Board of Pharmacy promotes patients working with their pharmacists. One key way is by assuring the pharmacist has a list of all medicines, including over-the-counter, herbal, natural and vitamin supplements a patient takes.

Pharmacists check patients’ complete records and only dispense prescription medications that safely combine with current medicines. If a pharmacist finds your new medicine has potential risks if taken with other items you are taking, they will work with the prescribing physician to dispense the best alternative.

Many people are in a hurry when filling prescriptions. However, when standing at the pharmacy counter, it’s best to take a few minutes to speak with your pharmacist and not opt-out of consultation. Talking with your pharmacist this month, and every month, about prescriptions and other medicines may save your life and the lives of your loved ones as well.

The bottom line for all of us is to ask your pharmacist for advice about your medicines. They are literally the last line of defense and subject matter experts to protect our health. It is also their duty, under California law, to give each patient a complete consultation to assure that new medicines, as well as previous prescriptions with changed instructions, are taken safely.

The California State Board of Pharmacy protects and promotes the health and safety of California consumers by pursuing the highest quality of pharmacist care and the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals through education, communication, licensing, legislation, regulation and enforcement.

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