You have just left the doctor’s office with Mom. The doctor is sending over a new prescription to the drug store that should be ready when you get there. Your plan is to zip through the drive-through window, pick up the medication, and take Mom out to lunch. But is there a step you’re missing?
Any time a new medication is ordered for a loved one, whether for an existing condition or a new one, it is always a good idea to know what questions to ask the pharmacist to ensure you have all of the information needed.
What Should You Ask a Pharmacist When Getting a New Medication?
- How and when should the prescription be taken? This is especially important to learn. Some meds have to be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day may also be a factor. Sometimes, a pill should be taken whole; in other cases, it can be cut in half or crushed and mixed with applesauce or yogurt to mask the taste. Or it may be offered in a liquid form that might be easier for the individual to take.
- How long does it take the medicine to start to be effective? Find out whether the person will notice the effects immediately, or if the medication has to build up over time before it starts to have an impact. Knowing the expectations will prevent a call to the doctor to report that it’s not working, or even worse, simply stopping the medication entirely.
- Does the medication need to be taken long-term? Find out if the medication is supposed to treat an acute health condition in a short span of time, or if it must be taken ongoing for a chronic condition. The pharmacist can counsel you on which category the medication falls in.
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You’ll want to find out the potential side effects to monitor for, and if noted, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing physician. It is also essential to know if there are any long-term challenges associated with the medication, as well as the benefits to be gained.
- How much does it cost, and will it be covered by insurance? If the full cost isn’t covered by Medicare or an individual insurance policy, find out if the medicine comes in a less costly generic form. The pharmacist can provide advice on the effectiveness of a generic type.
Consider whether there are any other questions to ask the pharmacist, and come equipped with a list in hand. Advocating for a senior family member in this way can prevent complications and ensure the person is getting the most from their medicines.
At-Home Care Company’s care professionals are also here to help. Our caregivers can pick up prescriptions and be sure that any and all questions are answered. We also provide companionship and are readily available to monitor for any changes in condition or troubling side effects from a new medication. Additionally, we can provide medication reminders to make certain that prescription medications are taken exactly as instructed.