October is American Pharmacists Month and celebrates the role that pharmacists play in your health care. Your pharmacist is just as important as your doctor is, and can affect your health.
Pharmacists do more than fill prescriptions.
They also check for potential drug interactions. When taking a prescription along with other prescriptions, certain foods or with specific health conditions, potential unwanted results can occur. Pharmacists have the knowledge to help you avoid these sometimes-dangerous interactions.
You can also ask your pharmacist what is the best way to take your prescription(s). Meaning, most prescriptions come with specific instructions on how much and how often you should take the drug. Sometimes the instructions will include a time of day that is best (morning/evening) and/or whether to take with food. Following the directions increases the drug’s effectiveness.
Pharmacists can help you select over-the-counter (OTC) medications that may work best for you. Even though OTCs do not require a prescription, some OTC medications should not be used with other drugs or have special instructions for use. You likely cannot have your doctor walking down the OTC aisle in the drug store, which is why pharmacists are there to help!
Furthermore, Pharmacists can look up insurance benefits coverage and administer immunizations—like your annual flu shot!
Check out this fun video from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists about the “Medication Experts in white coats”:
Help us celebrate American Pharmacists Month!
If you visit a local retail pharmacy to fill your prescriptions, be sure to smile and introduce yourself to your pharmacist. There are benefits to building a relationship with your pharmacist – over time, they will become more familiar with you and your medical history. This could better help them when assisting you with selecting over-the-counter medications, as they can recognize potential problems and/or interactions with what you are already taking.
If you utilize our Home Delivery program through Express Scripts (our pharmacy benefit manager), be sure to visit their website, www.express-scripts.com/Pharmacy, to learn about what is coming your way in 2016. Express Scripts realizes that you do not get face-to-face time with a pharmacist when you utilize the Home Delivery program, which is why their website also helps you to manage your prescriptions. With an online account, you can access your prescription drug information from copayments and refill alerts to drug interactions and safety alerts.
No matter the time of year, we encourage you to thank your pharmacist for all that they do every time you visit your local pharmacy.