Special Report

20 Things Pharmacists Want You to Know

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16. You don’t even need medications in some cases

The first step to treating many conditions is improving diet and exercise, Moore said. Jumping directly to the phase of taking a pill may be unnecessary. If, for example, one’s hypertension is not severe, it can be controlled by eating more fruits and green vegetables as well as more exercise. “But every patient is different, Moore noted. “A patient can start taking a medication and as they improve their lifestyle their medication can be reduced.”

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17. Look at the expiration date

Some meds don’t ever develop a foul smell, but that doesn’t mean they are not perishable. Expired medications are simply not as effective anymore, Moore said. “You may think, for example, that you’re taking Ibuprofen for your pain when in fact you’re taking nothing.”

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18. Pharmacists may know more about meds than your doctor

Both general practitioners and pharmacists spend years in school, but it’s the pharmacists who focus on drugs, what they are made of, what they interact with, and possible side effects. This makes them an important bridge between doctors with different specialties. “Ideally, [your doctor and your pharmacist] will work together because the doctor knows more about your state, but the pharmacist knows more about the medication you’re prescribed.”

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19. You should really stay loyal to one pharmacy

Even though medications are prescribed electronically and sent directly to pharmacies, information can still get lost. It’s in your best interest to keep all of your medical history at one pharmacy, so the pharmacist there has a complete picture of your health history and knowledge of any drugs you’re on, Moore said. That way they can assess if maybe you need a lower dose, another pill, or something generic.

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20. Pharmacists like it when you ask questions

It’s a common misconception that pharmacists just put pills in a bottle, Moore said. “But we can do a lot more,” Moore said. They have a doctorate in pharmacy and deep knowledge of most medications on the mass market. “We are more of a resource and people should ask us questions and use our expertise.”

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