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The Question Everyone Should Ask Their Pharmacist When Taking a New Drug

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    I have been a victim and near-victim of prescription drugs I should never have been given. Millions of people like you and me put blind faith into their doctors every day to prescribe safe and useful medications. Hundreds of thousands of them die every year from drug side effects. In fact, prescription drugs kill more people yearly than illegal drugs or traffic accidents. The fact is, your doctor can't possibly know every side effect of every drug on the market, and they don't have to. That's why pharmacists exist and why I have learned to utilize their knowledge.

    Why Patients Die of Side Effects They Should Have Known About

    Pharmacists have no influence over how many prescriptions are written, nor do they benefit from filling a certain prescription. Part of their job is to educate patients on the drugs they prescribe. Nearly every major pharmacy has a counter just for consultations, and very few people ever use them. Everyone is in a hurry, so when the pharmacy asks if you understand the directions given with the drugs, most people just sign and walk away.

    Make Your Pharmacist Does His Job

    My pharmacist told me that if people would actually let pharmacists educate them about the medications they are taking, they could save thousands of lives a year. He said that he has tried, and been told they would just read the paper inside. Most people don't read it. Again, there is that blind faith in the doctor to do no harm. Unfortunately, drug companies don't take that oath, routinely paying unscrupulous doctors to push their drugs. I've had pharmacists alert me to possible dangers of a new prescription, such as the possibility of seizures, and I really appreciated it.

    Don't Be Afraid to Ask Before You Buy

    Before you even purchase a new prescription, ask for a pharmacist to print out a list of side effects and explain them to you. You may find that you should not be taking that medicine at all because of something your doctor overlooked. I was once almost given Tylenol with codeine in a hospital, even though CODEINE was written in red letters across the top of my chart, since I am allergic to it. Neither the doctor who wrote the prescription nor the nurse who called it in to the pharmacist noticed it. It had not been put into the records that were available on the pharmacy computer, or he may have been able to catch it. Fortunately, my husband was in my room, noticed the pills were like the ones he had been prescribed for back pain, and asked before I took them.

    With drugs companies pushing through approvals of new drugs they know are dangerous, and promoting drugs for dangerous off-label uses, you have to be your own advocate. I was recently prescribed a drug that stated clearly on the cautions that it should not be prescribed to elderly patients, due to risk of death. I don't know if 60 is considered elderly, but it's close enough for me. The other side effects were equally as frightening. Furthermore, it was a drug for an illness I don't even have. So do your research and be your own best protector, and don't be afraid to ask your pharmacist questions.



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