Caregiver Guide: Get More from Your Pharmacy Visits
Medications are an important part of a patient’s treatment plan. Caregivers can use these lists to help stay informed and help the person in their care.
When dropping off a prescription
- Use the same pharmacy for all prescriptions, if possible. Doing so helps the pharmacist keep track of all medicine taken by the person in your care. If you need to use more than 1 pharmacy, give each pharmacist a list of all medicines.
- Find out if the medicine comes in another form. If the person in your care has difficulty swallowing pills, for example, ask the pharmacist if the medicine comes in smaller or easier-to-swallow tablets or capsules. Some medicine comes in liquid form, too. Never crush or break tablets or let the person in your care chew them without first checking with the health care provider or pharmacist.
- Ask if a generic drug is available. A generic drug has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and may cost less. Some brand-name medicines can be substituted with a similar generic to help save on prescription costs.
When picking up a prescription
- Look over the label. The pharmacy label should be easy to read and should list the name of the medicine written on the prescription. Be sure to ask the pharmacist about anything on the label that you do not understand. If the pharmacy label is hard to read, ask the pharmacist to redo the label in larger type. Not sure where to find certain information on the pharmacy label? The example below may help.
- Ask questions. Even if you went over the particulars with the health care provider, you may have additional questions about the medicine, its purpose, how it should be taken, or its side effects. The pharmacist is a great resource for answering these questions.
- Confirm handling instructions. Ask the pharmacist where you should store medicine. Some medicines need to be refrigerated. Others need to be stored in a dry place. Whatever the pharmacist suggests, be sure to store medicines in a place that’s easy to access for the person in your care but where children cannot easily find or reach them.