A good patient does more than adhere to doctor’s orders. They ask questions.
Next time your prescription is ready, bring along this checklist of smart questions to ask the pharmacist. Expertly trained in their profession, pharmacists are knowledgeable about both prescription and over-the-counter medications. As any proactive patient knows, better safe than sorry. Here’s what to ask.
Is this safe to take with my other medications?
If you mix certain ingredients of one medication with another, you could experience sudden dips or spikes in your blood pressure. This is especially common when mixing three or more medications at a time. Make sure both parties—doctors and pharmacists—are aware of your current medication list to catch potentially dangerous combinations.
Can I take this prescription with my current supplements and over-the-counter medications?
Supplements and over-the-counter medications should always be included on any list of medications that you give to your doctor or pharmacist. Many over-the-counter medicines contain acetaminophen, which the FDA has deemed dangerous if the safe dose is exceeded. So if your new prescription also contains acetaminophen, you could run into a problem.
Are there any dietary restrictions with this medication?
Thyroid medication cannot be properly absorbed if taken with large amounts of calcium. Grapefruit alters metabolism, and red wine should not be consumed with most antidepressants. Your pharmacist will be able to inform you of any restrictions associated with the medication you’re prescribed.
What are the common side effects? Which side effects are dangerous?
Knowing the side effects to expect can prepare you for what is to come. Headache? Insomnia? Nausea or diarrhea? Know what to expect and how to make it better.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
With some medications, it’s OK to skip one dose and wait for the next timeslot to take it; for other medications, it’s OK to double up. Ask your pharmacist what to do with each medication. Answers will vary depending on the type.
Is there a generic version of the prescribed drug?
A pharmacist can advise you if there is a generic option that is less expensive than a brand-name drug. Generic medications have the same active ingredient as the brand name but are far less expensive.