Recommended Questions for Your Pharmacist
Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Prescription Drug Plans to receive coverage for prescription medications they take. You can do this through the Medicare Part D program by adding a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to your Original Medicare (Part A and/or Part B) coverage or by enrolling into a Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage.
Here are some useful questions that you should ask your pharmacist so you fully understand what type of medications you’re taking and what to do if there’s a problem while taking them.
What is this medication called, what does it do, and is it safe to take with my other medications?
You should always note the name of the medications you’re supposed to be taking and whether or not the prescription is a generic or a brand name. Always ask your doctor and/or pharmacist how the medication is supposed to impact you, and make your provider aware of any other medications (whether over-the-counter or prescription) that you’re currently taking or planning on taking. This is so you can avoid any potential complications that come from mixing certain medications. Some medications can cause serious harm or even death if taken together.
When should I take this medication and in what quantities?
Determine if the prescription has to be taken at the same time every day and how many times a day it needs to be taken. Also ask what to do if you miss taking your medication at that time. Double-check that you understand how much of the medication to take each time. Make sure you understand how long you must take this medication. Incorrect timing or dosage of medication may be very harmful or even fatal in certain situations.
Could there be side effects from taking this medication?
Some medications may provoke allergic reactions or other side effects. Understand what they could be and what you should do if you experience any of them.
Are there any foods, drinks, drugs, or activities to avoid while on this medication?
Some medications may have a negative effect when taken alongside certain food, drinks, or alcohol. This question is important so that you know what you should avoid while taking medication. Certain combinations of medications with some foods, drinks, or drugs may cause serious or even life-threatening medical conditions. In addition, some medications may inhibit your ability to safely perform certain activities, such as driving a car, so it is important to understand the potential impact of any medication you take.
How long should I keep any leftover medications?
Certain medications may expire faster than others. You may be tempted to keep other drugs, like painkillers, lying around for longer than you have immediate need of them. Ask how long it is safe to keep them and whether or not you should discard them as soon as your current need of them ends. Also ask about the best methods for safely and responsibly discarding unused medications in your area.
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