You’ve just left the physician’s office with Mom. The doctor is sending over a new prescription to the pharmacy which should be ready by the time you get there. You plan to just zip through the drive-through window, get the medication, and take Mom to lunch. However, you are missing an important step.
When a senior gets a new prescription, whether for a preexisting condition or a new one, it is always a smart idea to talk to the pharmacist to find out the answers to a few important questions.
What Should You Ask a Pharmacist When a Senior Gets a New Prescription?
- What are the risks vs. benefits of taking this medication? You will want to learn the potential side effects to watch for, and if observed, report them immediately to the person’s prescribing doctor. It’s also important to learn if there are any long-term challenges associated with the medication, as well as the benefits to be gained.
- Does the medicine need to be taken long-term? Find out whether the medication is intended to treat an acute medical condition in a short period of time, or if it has to be taken ongoing for a chronic condition. The pharmacist can advise you on which category the medication falls in.
- How long does it take the medication to begin working? Find out whether the person will notice the effects right away, or if the medication has to build up with time before it starts to make a difference. Learning the expectations will prevent a call to the doctor to report that it is not effective, or worse, simply stopping the medication entirely.
- How much does it cost, and will it be covered by insurance? If the full cost isn’t covered by Medicare or a personal insurance policy, determine if the prescription is offered in a less expensive generic version. The pharmacist can provide advice on the effectiveness of a generic type.
- How and when should the prescription be taken? This is especially important to find out. Some prescription drugs need to be taken with a full glass of water; others, with food, or on an empty stomach. The time of day may also be a factor. Sometimes, a pill should be taken whole; in other cases, it can be cut in half or crushed and mixed with yogurt or applesauce to cover the taste. Or it might be available in a liquid form that could be easier for the older adult to take.
Consider any other specific questions you might want to ask the pharmacist, and come prepared with a list at hand. Advocating for a loved one in this manner may prevent complications and ensure the senior is getting the most out of their medications.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care’s care professionals are also here to help. We can pick up prescriptions and make certain that any and all questions are answered. We also provide companionship and are readily 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 instructed.