You have just left the doctor’s office with Mom. She is sending over a new prescription to the local pharmacy that should be ready by the time you get there. Your plan is to zip through the drive-through window, get the meds, and take Mom to lunch. However, you are missing an important step.
Whenever a new medicine is ordered for an older loved one, whether for a preexisting condition or a new one, it is always a smart idea to speak with the pharmacist to find out the answers to several key questions.
Top Five Questions to Ask the Pharmacist When Filling a New Prescription
- What is the cost, and will insurance cover it? If the full cost isn’t covered by Medicare or a personal insurance plan, determine if the medicine is offered in a less costly generic form. The pharmacist can give you advice on the effectiveness of a generic version.
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You will want to learn the potential side effects to watch for, and if seen, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing doctor. It is also important to know if there are any long-term issues linked to the medication, as well as the benefits to be gained.
- How long will it take the medication to begin to be effective? You’ll need to know if the person will notice the effects immediately, or if the treatment needs to build up with time before it begins to make a difference. Understanding the expectations will prevent a call to the physician to report that it is not working, or worse, simply stopping the medication completely.
- How and when should the medication be taken? This is especially important to find out. Some medications should be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day may be a factor. At times, a pill needs to be taken whole; in other cases, it may be cut in half or crushed and mixed with yogurt or applesauce to disguise the taste. Or it may possibly be available in a liquid form that might be easier for the older adult to take.
- Does the medication have 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 has to be taken ongoing for a chronic illness. The pharmacist can counsel you on which category the medication falls in.
Think through any other specific questions you may want to ask the pharmacist, and come ready with a list at hand. Advocating for a senior loved one in this manner can prevent complications and ensure the person is getting the most out of their medications.
Morning Glory Home Care’s care experts are also here to help. We are able to pick up prescriptions and make sure that any and all questions are answered. We also offer friendly companionship and are on hand to monitor for any changes in condition or unpleasant side effects from a new medication. Additionally, we can provide medication reminders so that prescription medications are taken exactly as directed.