Questions to ask a Pharmacist

How will I know if my new prescription is safe to take with my current medications?

  • Our pharmacists use a state-of-the-art drug interaction computer system to identify and review all potential drug interactions. We will notify your physician of any significant interactions. It is important that you tell us about all of the medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and herbals. That way we can be sure to identify all potential drug interactions when you receive a new prescription. You will be notified by phone if the process of resolving a drug interaction causes a significant delay in filling your prescription.


What should I do if I have a bad reaction to my medication?

  • If the reaction seems serious or life-threatening — for example, if you have wheezing, tightness in the chest, fever, itching, bad cough, blue skin color, fits, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat — contact your nearest emergency room or call 911. If it seems less threatening, a pharmacist would need to speak to you directly to offer the best course of action and to update your patient profile if necessary to avoid future reactions. Call the number printed on your prescription bottle.


What should I do if my medication looks different from last time and there is no note telling me that it has changed?

  • If there was no note with your prescription bottle, check the bottle for a sticker that indicates it is a different brand of the same medicine. If there is no such sticker, call the number printed on your prescription bottle.


What should I do if I miss a dose of my medication?

  • Take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and return to your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose or extra doses.


What is the medication called?

  • Each medication has two names: the common (also called generic) name and the brand name. The brand name is the name under which a specific manufacturer markets a product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the standard name of the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). The label on your medication will state the brand name, common name, or both. If more than one company makes a medication, its common name will be the same. The brand name will be different for each company. In other countries, the brand name may be different, but the common name is usually the same.


What is the medication supposed to do?

  • Some medications, such as antibiotics, are used to cure an illness. Others, such as pain medications, are used to control the symptoms. It is good to know what to expect from your medication so that you have a realistic idea of what it can do for you.


How should I use the medication?

  • What is the best time of day is best to use the medication? Some medications must be used at exactly the same times every day to be effective. For others, it is OK to use them at approximately the same time each day.
  • Should the medication be taken with food?
  • If the medication is to be taken by mouth, can it be crushed or split?


Are there any activities, foods, or other medications that I should avoid while taking this medication?

  • There are many situations, such as driving, drinking, eating, operating machinery, and exercise, that may be affected by a medication.