Prescription medication usage has increased significantly over the years, with more than 131 million people or 66% of adults in the United States currently taking prescription drugs for various health conditions including depression, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and pain management.
With almost two-thirds of the population relying on prescribed medicines, patients ought to have a good understanding of this area of their life as well as a good working relationship with their pharmacist. To ensure you or someone you care for is receiving the optimal care from their drug therapy this article has outlined some helpful steps to follow.
1. Rely on Your Pharmacist
These qualified health professionals are experts in medication and the clinical use of drugs to manage and treat various illnesses and health conditions. If you have any questions regarding your drug therapy or a course of medication you are currently on, rely on your pharmacist and their wealth of knowledge in this area to advise and guide you on your best interests. If you are considering a career in pharmacy or transitioning from your current role, you can find pharmacy jobs here.
2. Ask Questions
Taking prescription drugs can feel daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Being clear on what medication you are taking and the conditions it is meant to treat can offer you reassurance and clarity. Having an understanding of any addictions, dependencies or potential side effects is also essential. For example, are there any foods or drinks you should avoid when taking the medication or certain activities, such as driving, which could be dangerous? If you are taking other medications too, could there be a problem with combining them?
Seek advice from your pharmacist before taking two or more prescription drugs or mixing your prescription medication with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs or natural remedies such as homeopathic or herbal products. Such mixing may lead to potentially dangerous or unpredictable interactions with medications so it is essential to check this with your pharmacist beforehand.
3. Discuss any Problems With Your Medication
Whether you are finding it difficult to understand the instructions for your medicines and how often to take them or are struggling to remember to take them on time, make sure to discuss these matters with your pharmacist. They can then answer any questions you may have and help you to come up with a medication schedule that works for you.
It is also important to ask your pharmacist how to take your medication, how often, and for how long. To be effective, prescribed drugs must be taken as per their instructions. This is why it is important to ask your pharmacist exactly how to take your medication if you are unclear. Some medicines can be more difficult to administer than others, so if in doubt, ask your pharmacist to give you a clear demonstration on the correct usage or application of your prescription. Knowing how to correctly store any medication you are prescribed is also essential to ensure its efficacy as well as your own health.
If you require privacy regarding any problems or concerns regarding your medication, many pharmacies now offer private consultation rooms where you can discuss these matters with your pharmacist in private. If this is not an option at your pharmacy, ask if you can schedule an appointment to talk about your prescription in private.
4. Keeping Track of Medications
Monitoring your medical needs and requirements or those of someone you are caring for is important. By keeping a track of all prescribed medications you are taking you can avoid problems such as double dosing or forgetting to take certain medicines on time.
Keeping a record of any side effects is also a beneficial practice and can help you and your pharmacist adjust your drug therapy if needed. If you do notice any side effects from taking your medication such as sickness, cognitive impairment or an allergic reaction, do not hesitate to call your pharmacist.
5. Stay the Course
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medication non-adherence is responsible for 30% to 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year. For most medications to be effective, it is important to complete the course, as prescribed. Do not alter or discontinue your course of medication without consulting your pharmacist or doctor first as this could lead to negative side effects or withdrawal symptoms.
6. Refill Policy
To ensure a smooth course of treatment, find out if refills of your prescription are required, and if so, how to order these. With some health conditions, it is essential for patients to order refills early to avoid interruptions or delays in taking their medication.
In some cases, you may be able to order over the phone or online while in others, you may need authorization from your doctor first.
7. Stick With One Pharmacy
Staying with one pharmacy can help you to develop a good working relationship with your pharmacist who can then better understand your medical history and any specific needs and requirements, helping to optimize your medical care.
Having your pharmacy records all in one location can also make it easier for your pharmacist to keep track of your medical care as well as resolve any issues that may arise regarding your prescription, such as any medicine interactions, refills and side effects.
By following the guidance set out in this article you can ensure a better drug therapy experience for yourself or a loved one, helping to maximize the efficacy of any medications that have been prescribed.
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