If you are like a lot of my patients, you take so many medications your head may be spinning trying to keep them all straight. Or is the dizziness related to that white blood pressure tablet?
As you know, your pharmacist can help you determine if side effects are related to medications. We may ask certain questions about remembering to take medications or asking if you would like to participate in a medication review. Medication therapy management programs proactively identify ways to keep patients healthy and may help prevent adverse effects or hospitalizations.
Depending on your insurance and other factors like multiple chronic medications, your insurance plan determines if you qualify for medication therapy management programs. If you qualify, your pharmacist may call to check in about certain key medications, such as for diabetes, asthma or high cholesterol. Often the call will consist of reviewing what these medications are for and why it is important to take them, and helping find better ways to remember when to take medication every day. Other times we help identify side effects related to specific medications, discuss ways to minimize side effects or recommend alternative therapies.
Your pharmacist may also offer to set up a complex medication review. During a review, you and your pharmacist discuss medications’ uses, potential side effects, concerns about medications and maybe even find ways to save you money. Sometimes we discover that a patient may no longer benefit from a medication, is taking duplicate medications or is missing a life-saving medication for a certain disease state. Additionally, we can point to less expensive medication options and come up with ways to help you remember to take your medication. Not taking medication as prescribed may put your health at risk and may cause an expensive trip to the hospital. If during the review we decide that changes may be needed, your pharmacist will contact your doctor and together determine if modifications to your medication regimen are necessary. After each medication review, you get a printout of topics discussed and a copy of your personalized medications list. We recommend you take these printouts to your upcoming doctor appointments.
Are you thinking your doctor already does this? Yes, your doctor does many of these things, but think of it like this: You see a foot doctor for your feet, a dentist for your teeth and physical therapist for mobility rehabilitation because each of these are special experts. Think of your pharmacist as a medication expert. As part of a health care team, your pharmacist works with your doctor to ensure you have the best possible care focusing specifically on your medications.
Always remember, your friendly Sam’s Club Pharmacist is ready to help you manage your medications.