Skip to Main Content

Health & Wellness: Helpful Tips in Choosing a Pharmacist

CVSpharmacy_RxTech-1In recognition of American Pharmacists Month in October, CVS Caremark is thanking its pharmacists for their role in reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health. CVS Caremark’s 26,000 pharmacists are improving patient care and lowering health care costs every day in the company’s retail pharmacies, mail service pharmacies and specialty pharmacies nationwide. We commend their commitment to the field of pharmacy and encourage people to choose their pharmacist with the same care they take in choosing a physician. Here are some helpful tips.

Although it’s not uncommon to see more than one doctor, it’s best to use only one pharmacy so all medicine records are at one location. On your first visit to the pharmacy, take a few moments to answer questions regarding your medical history. A complete and accurate medicine record will alert the pharmacist to any drug allergies, any conditions that may have an effect on the drugs you take, and any adverse effects you experienced from drugs in the past. This will also enable the pharmacist to detect any harmful drug interactions, and to avoid duplicate orders.

Questions to Ask

You should be able to answer the following questions before taking any new medicine. Although each medicine comes with instructions, your pharmacist should be available to answer any or all of the following questions in more depth and in language that is easier to understand.

·         What is the name of the medicine and what is it supposed to do?

·         When and how do I take it?

·         For how long should I take it?

·         Does this medicine contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction?

·         Should I avoid alcohol, any other medicines, food and/or activities?

·         Should I expect any side effects?

·         What if I forget to take my medicines?

·         Is there a generic version of the medicine?

·         How should I store my medicines?

·         Does this medicine replace anything else I was taking?

Some More Helpful Tips   

·         Keep a list of all your medicines, both prescription and nonprescription.

·         Keep all medicines in their original containers. Make sure you know what each is for, and the brand and generic names.

·         Store medicines properly. Some may need to be refrigerated, but most should be stored in a cool, dry lockable cabinet away from direct sunlight.

·         Never take someone else’s medicine.

·         Take medicines exactly as prescribed. Don’t chew, crush, or break capsules or tablets unless instructed.

·         DO NOT flush old medicines down the toilet unless specific instructions tell you to do so. Instead take them out of the original container, mix them with other substances such as cat litter, place them in a sealable bag and throw them into the garbage. Another option is to take them to a community drug take-back program. If you are in doubt about how to dispose of the medicine, talk to your pharmacist.

·         Turn the lights on to take your medicines.

·         Keep medicines for people separate from medicines for pets or household chemicals.

·         Read the label every time you take a dose to make sure you have the right drug.

·         Don’t keep tubes of ointments or creams next to your tube of toothpaste.

·         If you forget your medicines when traveling, don’t panic. Most pharmacies will call your home pharmacy and get you enough pills to tide you over. If you’re traveling overseas, or will be away for a long time, have your doctor write an extra set of prescriptions for you before you go.