Prescription Medicine (cont.)
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
- 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
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.