You have just left the doctor’s office with Mom. The doctor is forwarding a new medication to the drug store that should be ready as soon as you get there. You plan to zip through the drive-through window, grab the medication, and take Mom to lunch. But is there a step you’re missing?
When a new prescription is ordered for a senior loved one, whether for a preexisting condition or a new one, it’s important to know how to work with your pharmacist to get the answers to several crucial questions.
What Questions Should You Ask the Pharmacist When Filling a New Prescription?
- How long is it going to take the medication to begin working? Find out whether the individual will see the effects instantly, or if the medication needs to build up over time before it starts to make a difference. Learning the expectations will prevent a call to the physician to report that it’s not effective, or even worse, simply stopping the medication altogether.
- How much does it cost, and will it be covered by insurance? If the full cost is not covered by Medicare or an individual insurance policy, determine if the medication is available in a less costly generic type. The pharmacist can advise you on the effectiveness of a generic version.
- Does the medication have to be taken long-term? See whether the medication is intended to treat an acute health issue in a short span of time, or if it must be taken ongoing for a chronic condition. The pharmacist can advise you on which category the medication falls in.
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You’ll want to find out the potential side effects to monitor for, and if noted, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing physician. It is equally important to know if there are any long-term issues linked to the medication, plus the benefits to be gained.
- How and when should the medication be taken? This is especially important to find out. Some prescription drugs have to be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day might also be a factor. Sometimes, a pill needs to be taken whole; other times, it could be cut in half or crushed and mixed with yogurt or applesauce to conceal the taste. Or it may be available in a liquid form that would be easier for the individual to take.
Think through any other specific questions you may want to ask the pharmacist, and come prepared with a list at hand. Advocating for a loved one in this manner can prevent complications and ensure the person is getting the most out of their medications.
Live Free Home Health Care’s care specialists are also here to help. Our caregivers can pick up prescriptions and be sure that any and all questions are answered. We also provide friendly companionship and are on hand to monitor for any changes in condition or unpleasant side effects from a new medication. Additionally, we can provide medication reminders so that prescriptions are taken precisely as directed.