You have just left the physician’s office with Mom. She is forwarding a new prescription to the pharmacy which should be ready once you get there. Your plan is to zip through the drive-through window, collect the meds, and take Mom to lunch. However, you are missing an important step.
When filling a new prescription medication for an older loved one, whether for a preexisting condition or a new one, it’s always recommended to talk with the pharmacist to find out the answers to several critical questions.
What Should You Ask a Pharmacist When Filling a New Prescription Medication?
- How long will it take the medication to start working? You’ll want to learn if the person will see the effects immediately, or if the medication has to build up over time before it starts to have an impact. Understanding the expectations will prevent a call to the physician to report that it’s not working, or even worse, simply stopping the medication entirely.
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You’ll want to learn the potential side effects to monitor for, and if seen, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing doctor. It is also important to learn if there are any long-term challenges linked to the medication, along with the benefits to be gained.
- How much does it cost, and will it be covered by insurance? If the full cost isn’t covered by Medicare or a private insurance plan, determine if the prescription is available in a less costly generic type. The pharmacist can advise you on the effectiveness of a generic version.
- Does the medicine have to be taken long-term? Determine if the medication is intended to treat an acute medical condition in a short period of time, or if it needs to be taken ongoing for a chronic condition. The pharmacist can advise you on which category the medication falls in.
- How and when should the medication be taken? This is especially important to find out. Some prescription drugs must be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day is sometimes a factor. A pill may need to be taken whole; other times, it can be cut in half or crushed and mixed with yogurt or applesauce to cover the taste. Or it may be available in a liquid form that could be easier for the person to take.
Consider any other specific questions you may want to ask the pharmacist, and come equipped with a list in hand. Advocating for an older family member in this manner can prevent complications and ensure the person is getting the most from their medications.
Home With You Senior Care’s care professionals are also here to help. Our caregivers are able to pick up prescriptions and make certain that any and all questions are answered. We also provide companionship and are available 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.