Making your medications work better
The experts at Banner Family Pharmacy offer these tips on how to make sure your medications work better.
Make sure you understand how to take your medication correctly.
If you are unsure, ask your Banner Family Pharmacist. Taking your medication properly can cut your health care costs. Thousands every year are hospitalized, fail to get better, and spend more money than they need to because they did not take their medication properly.
Keep track of your medicines
It's a good idea to make sure you have a list available at all times of your current medications, over-the-counter medicines and vitamins. Bring that list to your pharmacists and doctors and update it regularly. It's also a good idea to have all your prescriptions dispensed at one location so your pharmacist will have a record of all the medications you are currently taking.
There are certain foods, drinks, medications, and even activities that should be avoided while taking a particular medication.
Knowing the side effects of a drug is critical. Your Banner Family Pharmacist can tell you if a side effect is likely to happen and how long it may last. Report any side effects you experience when taking your medications to your pharmacist or doctor.
Always take your medication as instructed. Never change the way you take a medication without first asking about it. Medications are sometimes given in different strengths or at different times of the day. It may be possible to reduce the dosage without changing its effectiveness for you; however, this decision will have to be made carefully with your health care professionals.
Ask your pharmacist if there is a generic version of the medication you take. These are products the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has examined to be equivalent to the brand-name product. Generic medications are usually less expensive than their brand-name counterparts. Your pharmacist can answer any questions concerning your use of these medications.
Compliance is taking your medication as instructed by your doctor and pharmacist. A medication will provide little benefit if you skip doses, stop taking it to save money or because you “feel better.”
Make sure you understand how your insurance plan covers your medications. If you are not sure, either call your insurance company or ask your Banner Family Pharmacist. If you cannot afford health insurance, ask your pharmacist or doctor about who can help pay for your prescription medication.
There are many strategies used to reduce the cost of prescription drugs:
- Smaller quantities: To reduce the amount of money you spend per visit to a pharmacy, discuss with your pharmacist the option of obtaining smaller quantities—perhaps 30 tablets instead of 60
- Larger quantities:To reduce the amount of money you spend per dose of medication, discuss obtaining larger quantities— for example, two months supply instead of one.
- Know what you have: Keep track of how much you take. Having large supplies of a medication can sometimes lead to overmedication or waste due to medication changes.
- Proper storage: Be sure to store medications properly in a dark, cool, and dry location. Don’t keep them in the bathroom “medicine cabinet” or kitchen counter; the moisture and heat can alter a medication’s effectiveness.
- Out with the old: Discard medications that are old; check the expiration date on all medications. If it is not listed, take the medication to your Banner Family pharmacist to determine if it can be used safely and effectively.