Cold and flu season is just around the corner . . . do you know what questions to ask your pharmacist about prescription and over-the-counter medications?
- 1 How should I take this medication?
- 2 Who should I contact first if I begin experiencing side effects?
- 3 Are there side effects from this medication if mixed with alcohol or other medications?
- 4 Will there be any long-term effects if I do not finish all of this medication?
- 5 Does three times a day versus every eight hours make a difference?
- 6 There are so many over-the-counter selections for cold and flu symptoms; which medicine is right for me?
How should I take this medication?
Taking your medication with or without food can be an important factor, especially in determining a drug’s side effects.
Who should I contact first if I begin experiencing side effects?
Your pharmacist the quickest to reach and will be able to determine whether the side effect requires immediate attention by your physician or local emergency department.
Are there side effects from this medication if mixed with alcohol or other medications?
It is always important to inform your pharmacist and physician of any other medications you are taking as well as whether you intend to consume alcohol while taking your medication. Certain types of medications can be harmful, even fatal, when mixed with other drugs and/or alcohol.
Will there be any long-term effects if I do not finish all of this medication?
Yes. When medication is not taken until it is gone, you run the risk of lowering your resistance to the bacteria that caused the illness. This can be potentially more dangerous than the original infection.
Never save medication for future use. Most symptoms for several types of infections are similar; therefore, you never know if you are self-medicating for the correct infection.
Does three times a day versus every eight hours make a difference?
Make sure you understand instructions. Always verify this with the pharmacist. Instructions are often interchangeable and it may or may not make a strong difference whether the medication is taken every eight hours or three times a day. With some medications, it’s important to take it at specific times.
There are so many over-the-counter selections for cold and flu symptoms; which medicine is right for me?
Always read the label. If you still have questions, discuss your options with your pharmacist. Be sure to mention other medications you are taking, as over-the-counter medicines can cause extreme harm when mixed with other drugs and/or alcohol.
When you leave your physician’s office, you should know what medication was prescribed and why, and what it does. This will help you decide which questions to ask your pharmacist. It is recommended that you find a pharmacy you like and stick with it. You will receive the most helpful advice from a pharmacist who has a broad view of your medication history. For specific questions about specific medications, always ask your pharmacist.
The emergency departments of the Health Alliance urge you to be cautious with prescribed and over-the-counter medications.
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