Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professional to the public. No appointment is necessary, and no copayment is required to speak with a pharmacist. Your local community pharmacist can be a valuable resource for health care information. Here are a few tips on how to talk to your local pharmacist about your healthcare situation, concerns and/or needs.
Go in and meet your local pharmacist. Whether you fill your prescriptions at a grocery store, a big chain pharmacy, or the local independent pharmacy, introduce yourself to your pharmacist. This allows both parties to put a face with a name. Take the time to evaluate your pharmacist. It's very important to choose someone you trust. You wouldn't continue going to a doctor you didn't trust; your pharmacist should be no different.
If you are unable to go in and meet your pharmacist, set up a phone introduction. Call your pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist. Use this conversation to introduce yourself to them and evaluate who you are speaking with. If they sound busy, do they offer to call you back? Do they brush you off? Do they listen to what you are telling/asking them? A phone introduction can be a very helpful tool to evaluate your pharmacist.
Once you have decided that you trust your local pharmacist, share with them all the medication, both prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking. Inform them of any side effects you may be experiencing. They may be able to recommend an alternative medicine for you to try, or offer advice on how to take existing medicine to optimize results or minimize side effects. Additionally, they can evaluate your medications and inform you of any risks or potential interactions you may experience.
Ask your local pharmacist any and all questions you have about medication. Pharmacists specialize in knowledge about medications and the body. If you have a medication-related question, just ask. They can advise you on how to take your existing medications, what time of day to take your medicine, when you can expect to see a result, what side effects you may experience, how to avoid side effects, what to do if you miss a dose, how to store the medicine, and so on. Your local community pharmacist can be a valuable resource for healthcare information. Don't hesitate to use them.
If at any time you feel overwhelmed by the information your pharmacist is providing to you, ask for a printout. Most every pharmacy has the capability to print out drug information, your personal medication profile, potential drug interactions, and other resources. A printout gives you a permanent copy of detailed information. Please be advised, many printouts from the pharmacy contain very technical, medical information that isn't always easy to read or understand. This is another opportunity to use your pharmacist. If anything is unclear, just ask your pharmacist.