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Questions to ask your pharmacist before you leave the store

What do you need to ask to know more about your medicine?

Doctors usually give instructions on how to take a particular medicine you need. This might include the dosage, the timing, and the activities or food to avoid while under medication. Doctors would also mention common side effects and whether to continue medication or not.

However, not all ailments we experience warrants a visit to the doctor. A simple cold or cough would normally be solved by over-the-counter medicine (Self-diagnosis is wrong and should not be done. If you do not feel any better after a period of time, always consult a doctor). For information on non-prescription medication, the pharmacist is your best friend. Here are quick questions you can ask to learn more about the medicine you just bought.

What is the generic name or alternatives for the medicine?

Most advertised medicine have catchy names that are easy to remember, these are also likely to be more expensive. Knowing the generic name of a medication will make it easier for you to check other brands and compare prices. If you have unwanted symptoms from a specific brand, trying out an alternative might also be a solution.

How should I use the medication?

Medicine requirements differs greatly. Some need to be taken with food and others on an empty stomach. Some are taken in the morning and some at night. You might also need to avoid certain activities and food when taking a specific medication. Asking how to properly take it is crucial for the medicine to be effective.

What if I miss a dose?

Missing medication is more common than you think. You might need to take an extra dose or avoid a day for the next intake. It is best to inquire on what to do if you miss a dose to be prepared if you forget.

How do I know it is working? How do I know if it is not?

Different illnesses will have different medications that work on different paces. If you are aware of how long it will take, you will know when to expect to feel better. If you are not feeling better by then, you can ask if you should continue taking it or will you need to consult a doctor.

How long will I have to take it?

Some medications are used for short term, others for a lifetime. Knowing how long you will need to stay on a medication can help you prepare yourself for a lifestyle change if necessary. Some medications will also require strict adherence to instructions for it to work properly.

Can I take this medication? What food and activities should I avoid?

Pregnant women, children, and the elderly might not be allowed some medication. A lifestyle and diet change are also required for some medication, knowing these restrictions will make it easier for you to adjust accordingly.

How do I store this medication? How and where can I get refills?

While most medication are safe to store in room temperature, it is safe to ask if you need to keep yours in a specific condition. Having a pharmacy you trust that provides you with prescription meds and refills is also beneficial. They can provide you with information and ensure that what you need is always in stock.

These questions should cover most of the essentials. However, remember that you might need specific information on a particular medication you are taking. Always ask if you find something confusing. Remember that medicine will only work with proper intake. Listen to the pharmacist’s advice and you’ll be on your way to recovery.

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