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Prescription Medicine (cont.)

Getting Prescriptions Filled

Ideally, patients should use only one pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. That way, patients will have a single, complete source for all of their medications. The pharmacist will be more likely to pick up any potential interactions that might occur among them. This applies to over-the-counter as well as prescription drugs.

When filling a prescription at the pharmacy, make sure to do the following:

  • The pharmacist must have the same information as the doctor regarding medications and past reactions the patient has had (again, no reaction is too trivial to bring up).
  • If there are children in the home, make sure to ask for child-resistant lids.
  • If no children are in the household, the pharmacist may be able to provide easier opening lids for the medicine containers. A special note of warning must be made regarding visiting grandchildren and the need to safeguard medications from access by children.
  • If the medication is a liquid, get a measuring device with the prescription - usually a measuring teaspoon or a medical syringe. Don't trust the volume of home teaspoons or anyone's ability to guess or estimate how much of any liquid medication would equal the prescribed dose.
  • Find out how the medication is to be stored. Most people leave their medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet. This is arguably the worst place in the house for pills because the humidity in a bathroom can make them break down more easily. Other medications need to be refrigerated. Find out about medication storage before leaving the pharmacy. Some pharmacies print storage instructions on the bottle label; if patients are unsure about how medications they already have at home should be stored, first check the labels for instructions. If there are no instructions, call the pharmacy or your health care practitioner's office for instructions.
  • Before patients leave the pharmacy, also check to make sure the medication given is actually the drug he or she is supposed to have filled. Look at the directions on taking the medication. Do these directions match what the health care practitioner said about the medication? Ask the pharmacist any questions if there is anything unclear about what medication is given. This can help avoid the infrequent problem of obtaining the wrong medication.
  • Some pharmacy personnel may recommend patients have a bottle of ipecac syrup in the home for emergencies, others do not. This medication is used to make people vomit if they should accidentally take something they shouldn't. People are urged to call their regional poison control center before using ipecac. Currently, ipecac syrup is being used less frequently, and the poison centers will give people the guidance they need about its use and its dangers. The U.S. national poison control center phone number is 1-800-222-1222. Keep this number near the phone in case of an emergency. Many health care practitioners urge patients to never take ipecac syrup unless it is recommended by a trained medical caregiver because in some instances, this medication can make certain health problems much worse.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/11/2016

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