You run there for your prescriptions. You call with medication questions. And maybe you even get your annual flu vaccine – all from your local pharmacy. But did you know that your pharmacist can do more than just distribute medication? Most people don’t realize that their pharmacist is actually a resource for many other things from selecting over the counter meds to diagnosing common ailments. Read on to discover six things you never knew your pharmacist could do and how they can help enhance your healthcare experience.
1. Diagnose Certain Conditions
Have you been experiencing a nagging headache that impairs your vision? Are you feeling sensitive to sound and light? These are common symptoms of a migraine headache, and they’re something a pharmacist can help diagnose. This saves you a trip to the doctor or emergency room, which in-turn, saves you money! Of course, if your symptoms are severe or you suspect a life threatening illness or condition, seek medical attention immediately. Do not see your pharmacist if you think you’re having a stroke, heart attack, and other dangerous episodes. Other minor conditions your pharmacist can advise you on include ear aches, urinary tract infections, and certain skin rashes. When you visit your pharmacy looking for non-prescription medication and describe your symptoms to the pharmacist, most can easily detect signs associated with these common, minor conditions. They can then suggest the right over the counter medication to ease discomfort. If your symptoms worsen or persist, it’s best you seek the care of a licensed physician. Speaking of over the counter medications…
2. Help You Choose Over the Counter Medications
If you’re visiting the drug store or pharmacy in the hopes of finding a magic elixir to relieve your sinus pressure, gas pains, muscle soreness, or other common ailments, you may not know exactly what you’re looking for. With countless head and cold medications available, alongside decongestants, how do you choose? Do you want one to help you sleep or is the non-drowsy variety better? Are your gas pains due to indigestion or constipation? That will determine which type of medication you purchase. Before you waste money on the wrong type of medicine, ask the pharmacist for help. You can also ask for their opinion in terms of which brand is best, dosage instructions, and other safety concerns. While most information the pharmacist offers will be strictly based on their experience and opinion, it’s a good place to start.
3. Save You Money
One of people’s main concerns when it comes to medications is the cost. If you have good health insurance, your prescriptions may be covered under your plan. Depending on the type of coverage you have, you may need to pay for your medicine upfront and then get reimbursed later. Others allow you to pay a small fraction of the price, while they cover the rest. If you don’t have a prescription drug coverage plan, you might be looking for alternative ways to save money on the medications you desperately need. And your pharmacist may be able to help with that. Pharmacists have no direct say over how much a medication costs. They can’t alter your co-pay or barter with your insurance provider. What they can do is recommend medications that are comparable to what you’ve been prescribed for half the price. They can also inform you about coupons or discount programs that offer the same medications at a much lower cost. It’s in your best interest to also ask your doctor if they can write the script for a cheaper medication. But most pharmacists that know you and your family will make this recommendation before filling the script. Learn more about affordable pharmaceutical options here!
4. Provide Sick Notes
Whether you’re a child or an adult, there may come a time when you need a note that excuses you from work or school. This usually requires a trip to the doctor’s office. But in some cases, your pharmacist can give you a sick note. If you need legal documentation (also known as a leave of absence) that excuses you from work or school, simply bring your request to your local pharmacy. You’ll need is other paperwork like an ID and any medications or prescriptions you’ve been taking. A diagnosis from your doctor of your condition helps too.
5. Prevent Prescription Errors
When filling out paperwork at the doctor, have you ever noticed questions regarding what medications you’re currently taking? Doctors ask this for several reasons, one being so that they don’t prescribe you any new medications that might interfere with ones already in your system. The doctor or nurse will also ask if you’re allergic to any medications. But the truth of the matter is, accidents happen — even in the medical world. If your doctor accidentally prescribes you a medication that you’re either allergic to or may interfere with other medications you’re currently taking, your pharmacist will notice. They can then call the doctor directly and alert them to the error. This could ultimately save your life. Some of the most common medication interactions include:
- Potassium Chloride and Spironolactone
- Digoxin and Quinidine
- Warfarin and Diflunisal
- Fluoxetine and Phenelzine
- Theophylline and Ciprofloxacin
- Sildenafil and Isosorbide Mononitrate
Other common, less serious medication interactions will simply interfere with the effectiveness of the medication. For example, most antibiotics can lessen the effectiveness of your birth control pills. This can result in an accidental pregnancy. If you’re concerned that a recent prescription you received may interact with your current medications, ask your pharmacist before they fill the prescription. Your script will also come with a pamphlet detailing all common side effects. If any of these listed symptoms concern you, be sure to ask your pharmacist their professional opinion.
The pharmacy does more than just fill your prescriptions. They can offer advice on over the counter medications, write you necessary sick notes, and even diagnose common conditions. A pharmacist can be your go-to for basic healthcare needs.
Article Submitted By Community Writer