Talk to Your Pharmacist

Your pharmacist oversees an important part of your health care by providing the medications prescribed by other health care professionals. It’s important that you are proactive and communicate honestly with your pharmacist. Topics you should discuss with your pharmacist include:

  • What other medications you take
  • Whether you have allergic reactions to any medications
  • Whether there is a generic version of the medication you can take instead
  • Any questions about the medication you are receiving. Review and discuss information on your patient insert.
  • Whether there is a risk that your medications don’t mix well with each other
  • Whether there any side effects to the medications

Remember to finish your entire prescription, since some illnesses require treatment to continue past the time when symptoms go away. Make certain that your pharmacy has your current health and prescription insurance on record so you get the best price possible. If you have difficulty paying for your medications, contact the manufacturer; some pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs to help you afford your medication.

Online Pharmacies

An increasing number of consumers are replacing a trip to the pharmacy with a trip on the Internet. While there are online pharmacies that provide legitimate prescription services, there are also some questionable sites that make buying medicines online risky. Do business only with a licensed U.S. pharmacy. Check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to determine whether the site is licensed and in good standing. There are a few clues you can use to determine whether an online pharmacy is licensed, such as the website does not:

  • identify the organization or company sponsoring the site.
  • include a U.S. address and telephone number for the company.

An online pharmacy should offer you access to a registered pharmacist who can answer any questions you might have about drug interactions, side effects, and other safety precautions. Be wary of sites that:

  • Sell drugs without a prescription
  • Sell drugs not approved by the FDA
  • Advertise quick cures
  • Tell stories of "amazing results"
  • Claims that the medical profession has tried to keep the product from the public

If you suspect a site is not a licensed pharmacy, report it and any complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.