Thursday, August 18, 2016
7 TIPS FROM PHARMACISTS
1- DON'T LET DRUG ADS SCARE YOU There are commercials on television that show a long list of side effects of medications. Those disclaimers are usually based on studies in which very, very low percentage of patients suffered adverse side effects at all. The doctor reviews all the relevant information about a patients health to decide if the benefits of this drug out weigh any small risk. Definitely get the prescription filled. Make sure to ask the doctor why he/she believes a drug is safe for you. -Susan A. Cantrell, registered pharmacist and chief executive officer of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy in Alexandria, VA. 2- DON'T CRY OVER SPILLED PILLS For most drugs, there is a grace period in which the prescription may be filled early. If the pills are lost within a week of the refill date, there should not be a problem. Anything before the refill date, the pharmacy has to get the doctor's permission. For Vicodin or Xanax or any controlled medication that's considered habit-forming, there is nothing the pharmacist can do. A visit to the doctor's office is needed. For lifesaving medicines and if the individual is away from home or it is a weekend, the pharmacist will try to give a supplemental dose. -Sophia Demonte, registered pharmacist and pharmacy manager for the Costco Whole Sales Corporation in Nesconset, NY. 3- OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS CAN BE DANGEROUS TOO Be careful when mixing prescription drugs with pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. To avoid life-threatening reactions, the doctor may instruct the patient to rotate between two pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For example, rotate from one to other every three hours, but that decision should be made with the doctor's consent. Only the doctor or pharmacist can know if it is safe for that specific person. It is not advisable to take acetaminophen and Percocet together. Avoid the acetaminophen and check with the doctor for an alternative over the counter pill. -Evelyn R. Hermes-De Santis, professor of pharmacy and clinical professor of pharmacy practice and administration at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. 4- YOU MIGHT NEED TO FIRE SOMEONE Beware of doctors who get annoyed by patient and pharmacist phone calls and do not return any. Your pharmacist and doctor need to communicate effectively for the good of the patient's health. If you ever spot trouble between them, consider replacing one or both. Norman Tomaka, a clinical consultant pharmacist in Melbourne, FL, and spokesperson for the American Pharmacy Association. 5- WE CAN PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY Don't be afraid to demand privacy, because every patient deserves that kind of discretion. There are private consultation areas. Also, the pharmacist will take calls. If the individual feels his/hers rights have not been respected, another pharmacist should be found, one that puts privacy first. -Norman Tomaka 6- THEY HAVE HEARD IT ALL Talk freely and don't be embarrassed. It can be intimidating to get personal especially when the pharmacist is a stranger, but there is nothing they probably have not heard before. Seek the information that is wanted and needed. Do not self-medicate or avoid help that is needed because of embarrassment. -Mary M Bridgeman, doctor of pharmacy and clinical associate professor at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at the Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. 7- WE CAN SAVE YOU A TRIP TO THE DOCTOR Most pharmacies offer more than a flu shoot. A lot of pharmacies have a vaccine for almost any illness. Sometimes an appointment is not needed. But, be sure to call ahead of time. What the pharmacy is allowed to carry varies from state to state. It is not uncommon to find HPV, meningitis, hepatitis A and B vaccines. There may be even a tetanus shot available. -Douglas S. Burgoyne, doctor of pharmacy and president of VRx/Veridicus Health in Salt Lake City.