When you hear the words “healthcare professionals,” you probably think of doctors and nurses. However, there is another key member of your healthcare team right in your neighborhood: your pharmacist. Most people pay a visit to their local drugstore on a regular basis, which is why Dallas-based doctor and pharmaceutical professional of 25 -years, Michael Basco suggests treating your pharmacist like you would a family doctor. Get to know them a little bit by asking them a few questions before deciding whether they’re the right fit for you. After all, pharmacists are highly trained specialists in their field and have a better understanding than anyone of medicinal drugs. In essence, forging a relationship with your pharmacist is critical in order to ensure your doctor’s prescriptions are working for you. Below, Michael Basco provides his insight into four of the many reasons why it’s important for people to get to know their pharmacist.
They Can Give You Information About Your Prescription
First off, the main responsibility of your pharmacist is to fill the prescription prescribed by your doctor and then to explain to you how it works. Each time you pick up a new prescription, your pharmacist should run through the basics with you: the name of the medicine, what it is for, how it will affect your body, how frequently to take it, what the possible side effects are, and what to do if you start to experience any of those side effects.
While any pharmacist can thoughtfully explain to you how a medication works, Michael Basco asserts that they will be able to better predict how you personally will be affected by the medication if they know more about you. For example, different lifestyle habits, such as certain foods or the consumption of alcohol, have the ability to impact how a medication takes effect. Thus, if one develops a relationship with their pharmacist, they are likely to get the best care possible.
They Can Teach You About How Your Medications Interact
According to Michael Basco one of the most important ways that a pharmacist can help you is by identifying how your medications will interact with one another. For example, if you are already on medication, it’s possible that a new drug could interfere with one you’re currently taking. Sometimes the doctor who prescribes the medication isn’t aware of other drugs you’ve been prescribed or possibly doesn’t know exactly how that drug will react with another. In contrast, understanding the chemistry of drugs and how they interact is the primary role of a pharmacist. There is no one better suited to tell you whether multiple medications will work well together or not. This is another reason why it’s important to always be open and honest with your pharmacist. More than just letting them know the other medications you’re taking, it’s important to disclose any holistic or herbal supplements, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, or even certain foods that you consume, as all of these can affect how your body reacts to a certain medication.
They Can Talk to You About Generic Medication Options
Brand name drugs in the United States can be expensive. Depending on your level of healthcare coverage, you might be looking for a more cost-effective option when it comes to prescription medication. Luckily, there are generic medication options out there, though they aren’t all created equal. While some brand name drugs have quality generic alternatives, other generic versions can come with risks. Pharmacists are the best people to ask if you’re considering a generic alternative. In most cases, Michael Basco states they will be able to provide a full breakdown of where the generic drug is coming from, how it’s made, and what the pros and cons are.
They Can Help You Manage Certain Health Problems
While pharmacists aren’t doctors, they do have special training that allows them to help you manage certain health problems. For example, they can administer immunizations, such as flu shots, as well as show you how to use different types of health-related equipment like inhalers or blood glucose monitors. If you get your blood pressure checked at your local drug store, share the results with your pharmacist — they will be able to determine if anything is out of the ordinary and recommend that you seek medical care if necessary.
Finally, pharmacists can serve as your advocate. If they feel that a drug prescribed by a doctor isn’t working for you, or that a new medication will interact negatively with another medication you’re currently taking, they can consult your doctor to try and come up with an alternative solution.