One of the outcomes of most life-altering diagnoses is a treatment regimen that includes some type of medication. The doctor hands you a prescription and off to the pharmacy you go. Most people believe that all pharmacists do is count pills and slap a label on the bottle. They aren’t aware of the training involved in becoming a pharmacist and that training could save your life.
Whether or not your doctor wants to admit it, the pharmacist knows more about interactions of medications than the doctor. A huge component of pharmacy training includes chemistry and learning the interactions between classes of medication. Doctors are more likely to know about the drugs they most use in their specialty, but don’t have the in depth knowledge across specialties.
When facing a life-altering health challenge you often see more than one doctor, especially if surgery is part of the treatment protocol. You may have prescriptions from each doctor. As a patient, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of medication your taking and it may not cross your mind to tell one doctor about the other medications you’ve been prescribed. Your pharmacist and thanks to modern technology will know about all your prescribed medications. The pharmacist will become alarmed if some of your medications are known to interact in a bad way. Computer programs in pharmacies also are able to cross reference interactions and display an alert if two of your medications may interact poorly. The pharmacist can literally save your life.
In today’s healthcare environment your doctor has a short amount of time to spend with you. You may be so focused on questions about your health that you put aside any questions about the medication they prescribed. Your pharmacist has more time to explain the medication, the dosage, the possible side effects and interactions with over-the-counter medications. You may not think that cold medicine or aspirin could interfere with your prescriptions, but they can inhibit medication effectiveness or even have toxic effects on the body.
It’s important that you bring all your prescriptions to the same pharmacy. If you use several pharmacies the possibility of detecting a problem is greatly reduced because you’re history isn’t in their computer system. Your pharmacist may recommend alternatives to more expensive medications with approval from your doctor. They are more aware of generic drugs and in this day and age any money saved as long as it doesn’t impact the outcome may be worth investigating. Pharmacists are also trained differently than doctors because they are trained in a more customer service environment, the pharmacy. They are a valuable resource and making your pharmacist part of your trust healthcare inner circle will serve you well.