Pharmacists are educated to be the medication experts, and typically have the most accurate and latest information about your medicine. Often, people are in a hurry when filling prescriptions, but the best time to speak with your pharmacist is while you’re at the pharmacy counter so don’t opt-out of your consultation discussion with the pharmacist. Talking with your pharmacist about your prescriptions and other medicines you are taking may save your life.
Under California law it is a pharmacist’s duty to give each patient a complete verbal consultation to ensure that new medicines, as well as previous prescription medications with changed instructions, are taken safely. The California State 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.
You should tell your pharmacist about other over-the-counter medications, herbals, natural supplements or vitamins you are taking because there could be an interaction with the medication.
Pharmacists check patients’ complete records and only dispense prescription medications that safely combine with other medicines you are taking. 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.
Before taking your medicine, be sure you know:
- The name of your medicine and what it does.
- How and when to take it.
- How long to take it.
- 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 bottom line is to ask your pharmacist for advice about your medicines. Pharmacists are subject matter experts and literally the last line of defense to protect our health.
To check a pharmacist’s license, click HERE.