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Why is it important to tell your pharmacist about any over-the-counter (OTC) medications or supplements you’re taking?
Some medicines work together, and some work against each other. It’s that simple, and that’s why is very important to have an accurate medication list on file with your primary care clinic. A complete and accurate list helps your physician and other providers know exactly what you’re taking at home, and it allows your pharmacist the opportunity to check for potential interactions between medications. Interactions can also occur between OTC medications and even herbal supplements. (Just because a supplement is labeled “all natural,” it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potentially harmful effects on its own or when combined with other medications or supplements.) Some OTC medications and herbal supplements have very powerful effects and can dramatically impact your overall treatment plan. Therefore, it is essential that you know what you’re taking and communicate a complete and accurate list to your pharmacist and/or physician.
What is Medication Therapy Management?
Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is a partnership between you, your pharmacist and your caregiver, and it’s designed to promote the safest, most effective use of your medications. At Essentia Health, our pharmacists are an active member of your healthcare team, and through Medication Therapy Management, they work to identify, prevent and resolve medication-related problems—helping ensure you get the optimum benefits from your medicines.
Who is eligible for a MTM consultation?
Anyone is eligible for a Medication Therapy Management consultation, and many insurance companies cover this type of visit. Patients are typically invited for a consultation if they are on multiple medications (prescription and OTC), have chronic conditions (diabetes, hypertension, asthma, COPD), or are having a specific medication related problem.
Medication Adherence: Why is it important to take medication as prescribed?
The only way to get the full benefit of a medication is to take it on a consistent basis or as prescribed by your provider. If the medications are not taken as prescribed, it can lead to ineffective performance and, in some cases, an unsafe situation for the patient. Your healthcare providers can only assess how your medication is working if they know how you are taking it at home.
Generics: What is a generic medication and why should I consider taking one?
Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as the equivalent brand-name medication—but the real reason to consider them is that they’re often less expensive and require lower copays. You can also count on the fact that they’ll work in the same way as their brand-name counterparts, because the Food and Drug Administration has strict standards ensuring their quality and performance. One thing to note: generic medications may have different inactive ingredients, such as colors or dyes, so if you have specific allergies to preservatives or color additives, be sure to check.
Why is it important to have a medication list with you?
Having a current, accurate list of the medications you take—including all OTC products and supplements—is essential to receiving good healthcare. The provider in a primary care clinic needs to know what you are taking in order to optimize your therapy and to help you achieve the best possible outcomes. A current medication list is also of utmost importance should you ever need emergency medical services. Because some medications interact with other medications, conditions, or diagnostic tests, the emergency department physician needs to know what you are taking to provide you the fastest, safest, most efficient care. Having an up-to-date medication list is also helpful if you ever need to spend the night in the hospital—when the staff knows your medications, they can get you what you need.
What questions should you ask your doctor or pharmacist about a new medication?
• What is the medication used for? (indication)
• How safe is this medication for me to use? Are there any risks?
• What kind of side effects can I expect when taking this medication?
• What kind of results should I expect to see and when will I notice these improvements in my health?
• What are the proper directions for use?
• What should I do if I miss a dose?
• Do I have store this medication in a special way?
NOTE: If the medication comes in a particular device such as an inhaler or insulin pen, be sure to ask how to use it properly.
What’s the difference between a refill and a renewal and what is the difference in the process for each?
Refills are granted for new prescriptions by your prescriber. Controlled substances can be refilled for a maximum of six months, whereas maintenance medications (blood pressure meds, for example) can be refilled for a up to a year. When a prescription is out of refills, you’ll need to contact the pharmacy to get a renewal. The pharmacy will contact your doctor to set up the renewal and, in some cases, you’ll need to visit the doctor to continue the renewal.
Can I have my prescriptions mailed to me?
Yes, all Essentia patients are eligible to receive ongoing maintenance prescriptions mailed directly to their home—for free—instead of having to go to the pharmacy.
Why does my pharmacy need to know about my allergies to medications, foods, etc.?
Example: some medications contain peanut oil.
It’s very important for your pharmacist and physicians to know all your medicine and food allergies, and it’s your responsibility to properly inform them. It’s also good to understand the difference between an allergy and a side effect. For example, codeine can sometimes cause stomach issues, but that isn’t due to an allergic reaction, it’s a side effect. These types of symptoms should still be reported, however.
Why do I need a medication consult with the pharmacist on a new drug?
A medication consult is much like a safety check. It allows pharmacists to reinforce the directions, talk about negative interactions with other drugs or foods, and discuss possible side effects. Truly, it’s in your best interest to get the best information you can about all your prescriptions.
to download our easy to use medication reminder card.