You and Your Pharmacist

Season: 1995
Submitted By: Barbara Hare, B.Sc.Phm., Pharm.D.

Staying healthy is a team effort! Here at the adult congenital cardiac clinic key members of the team are physicians, nurses, and various technicians and assistants ensuring you get the best care possible. At home the community pharmacist joins the team.

As a person with congenital heart disease, you may be taking medication related to your condition. Your pharmacist can help you with the answers to the following questions.

  • Why am I taking this medication, and for how long will I be taking it?
  • When should I take this medication? It says once a day, but when during the day?
  • Are there side effects associated with this medication and what can I do about them?
  • Can non-prescription medications Interact with my prescription medications?
  • Is it okay to take these medications with the ones from my other doctor?
  • Are there any foods I need to avoid?
  • Can I drink alcohol with this medication?
  • Do I need to take any special precautions while taking this medication?

It is important to have a regular pharmacist, someone who takes the time to provide you with the above information, someone you trust, and with whom you feel comfortable. To identify that someone ask the pharmacist to help you choose a non-prescription item (i.e., cough and cold remedy, pain reliever, etc.). Evaluate their advice and feel free to ask them questions. If they make your health care a priority, then you have found your pharmacist. Once you choose a pharmacy ensure the pharmacist takes the time to provide you with the answers to the above questions when they fill your first prescription. Reurning to the same pharmacy allows the pharmacist to maintain an up-to-date medication profile on you. In this way therapeutic duplications, drug interactions, and allergic reactions can be prevented and an exchange of information can occur.

Pharmacists can provide you with a wealth of information: utilize them, ask questions, and work with them in providing your best possible health care.