You’ve just left the physician’s office with Mom. The doctor is forwarding a new prescription to the pharmacy that should be ready to be picked up by the time you get there. You plan to zip through the drive-through window, collect the meds, and take Mom to lunch. But you’re missing an important step.
Whenever a new medicine is ordered for a senior loved one, whether for a preexisting condition or a new one, it’s a good idea to speak to the pharmacist to get the answers to several crucial questions.
What Are the Top Things to Ask the Pharmacist When Getting a New Medication?
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You will want to find out the potential side effects to monitor for, and if noted, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing physician. It’s also essential to know if there are any long-term risks associated with the medication, as well as the benefits to be gained.
- What is the cost, and will insurance cover it? If the full cost isn’t covered by Medicare or a private insurance policy, determine if the medicine is offered in a less costly generic type. The pharmacist can give you advice on the effectiveness of a generic version.
- Does the medication have to be taken long-term? Determine if the medication is intended to treat an acute health problem in a short span of time, or if it needs to be taken ongoing for a chronic illness. The pharmacist can advise you on which category the medication falls under.
- How long does it take the medication to begin to be effective? Find out whether or not the person will notice the effects right away, or if the treatment has to build up over time before it begins to have an impact. Knowing the expectations will prevent a call to the doctor to report that it is not effective, or even worse, simply stopping the medication.
- How and when should the prescription be taken? This is particularly important to learn. Some prescription drugs should be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day can also be a factor. Occasionally, a pill must be taken whole; other times, it can be cut in half or crushed and mixed with applesauce or yogurt to mask the taste. Or it may be offered in a liquid form that could be easier for the senior to take.
Consider any other specific questions you might want to ask the pharmacist, and come prepared with a list in hand. Advocating for a loved one in this manner can prevent complications and ensure the person is getting the most out of their medicines.
Inspired Home Care’s care experts are also here to help. Our caregivers are able to pick up prescriptions and ensure that any and all questions are answered. We also provide companionship and are readily available to monitor for any changes in condition or unwanted side effects from a new medication. Additionally, we can provide medication reminders to ensure prescription medications are taken as directed.