Andrew Gyorda RPh Outlines Common Questions You Can Ask Your Pharmacist
When it comes to questions about your health, particularly the medications you’re taking, you probably turn to a doctor first, right?
Well, as Andrew Gyorda, a pharmacist and the manager of Hollis Pharmacy in
Hollis, New Hampshire, explains, there are many questions that can be answered by a community pharmacist that will save you a trip to the doctor. A pharmacist cannot diagnose you, but there are questions you might not have considered asking him that could improve your treatment outcomes while decreasing risks. Mr. Gyorda shares some of the most important questions you can approach your pharmacist with.
Medication and Food Interactions
A good pharmacist already maintains records of other medications you are taking and knows how they might interact, he explains. For example, did you know that warfarin — a common blood thinner used to prevent clots — could dangerously interact with some pain medications including prescription NSAIDS and even over-the-counter aspirin?
Aside from warning against drug interactions, a pharmacist may also be able to tell you which foods might affect you when you’re taking medications. There are a number of common food/drug interactions that can make you sick (or worse), such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) combined with fermented foods — a combination linked to a spike in blood pressure. Additionally, dairy foods can lower the effectiveness of medications such as antibiotics.
Of course, many medications have side effects when used on their own and pharmacists can help you make sense of the risks.
Correct Doses For Younger Patients
Oftentimes, dosage is based on adult profiles. But what if the medications are being given to a younger patient?
The truth is that medications can affect adults and children with similar symptoms in different ways, and the proper doses can vary. Pharmacists can calculate proper dose based on child weight and age and make you aware of differences in pediatric responses as compared to adults.
Aside from telling you what doses are safe for children or teens, a pharmacist may also be able to explain some of the side effects that could result. For example, while antidepressants can be helpful for younger people, they can also increase certain behavioral risks that you should know about. It may necessitate starting medications on the lower end of a dosage range for kids and stepping up slowly.
How Long to Take Medications For
When you start to feel better from a drug treatment, you can stop, right? Not so. A pharmacist like Mr. Gyorda can instruct you how long you should take a medication, as well as the correct dosage.
A common example of this is the use of antibiotics for bacterial infections, he explains. While some people may be inclined to stop taking them when their strep throat feels better, as an example, you have to take them for their full prescribed term in order to ensure all the bacteria are dead and won’t surge back later or develop resistance to treatment.
Pharmacists Offer Experience and Knowledge
Pharmacists like himself have specific training, licensure, and decades of practical experience under their belt and can answer a wide variety of questions that you might think can only be answered by a doctor, explains Mr. Gyorda.
Asking the right questions can limit negative side effects while making your treatments more successful, he adds.