New Times. New Attitudes
An aging population. Shorter hospital stays. Shrinking health care budgets. New medications coming on stream every day. No wonder Canadians are becoming more active in their own care and taking charge of their health.
Now more than ever, Canadians are searching for answers to their health-related questions, either on the Internet (through an ever-growing number of health-related web sites) or from self-help books.
They are going to their doctors with ideas about how they want to proceed with their health care and are often asking for specific medications. And, in record numbers, they are making the decision to try herbal and natural health products (NHPs).
It is important to take charge, but you do not have to do it alone. Now more than ever, is the time to take charge of your health by talking with your pharmacist.
Take full Advantage of your Pharmacist's Knowledge
Today's pharmacist provides many services in addition to filling prescriptions. As the most accessible health care provider in the community, your pharmacist is often your first point of contact with the health care system and is an excellent source of health information.
In addition to advice and information about taking your medicine well, your pharmacist can help you with a variety of other health concerns, including
• managing conditions such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
• providing information and advice on staying well and preventing disease
• helping with lifestyle changes; for example, quitting smoking
• reviewing all your medications and overall health to ensure you are getting the most from any and all medication you take
• counselling on how to take nonprescription medicines or herbal and NHPs
• helping you make sense of health information you find on the Internet or in the news
• helping you find other useful resources within the community.
Always ask your Pharmacist about your Medicine
Whether you are filling a prescription, choosing over-the-counter medicine to treat symptoms or illness, or considering taking an herbal or NHP, never leave the pharmacy before you know the answers to all your questions. These might include:
• Why am I taking this medicine?
• How do I take it?
• How will I know if this medicine is working?
• When will I feel better?
• What side effects might I experience? What should I do?
• When should I see my doctor?
• What should I do if I miss a dose?
• Can I drink alcohol while taking this?
• How will I remember to take my medicine?
• Will this medicine make me drowsy?
• Can I take this medicine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
• Which is the right cold medicine for my child or me?
• Is this nonprescription medicine suitable for everyone in the family, including my children?
• I'm taking three other medications. Is it okay to take this, too?
• Is "four times a day" the same as "once every 6 hours"?
• Is there a less expensive medicine I might use instead?
• Am I using my inhaler (puffer) properly?
• Can I get my medicine in a container that is easier to open?
• Is there another medicine I could take that would be easier for me to swallow?
• Which is the best nonprescription medicine for my symptoms?
Take Charge of your Health.
Talk to Your Pharmacist.
More about your pharmacist
Your Pharmacist :
• is a licenced health care professional with a minimum of 4 to 5 years of university training and practical experience
• is a medication expert and the right health professional to help you get the best from your medicine
• is an expert resource for you, your doctor, your nurse and other health professionals
keeps a computer record of all your prescription medications and checks your prescription to make sure the drug, dose and instructions are best for you.
Pharmacists practise in many settings:
• community pharmacies (drug stores)
• nursing homes
• pharmaceutical companies
Your health checklist
Your pharmacist can help you make the best choices for your health. Here are a few other important steps you can take to help you enjoy better health:
• Choose a pharmacy that meets your needs and continue to use that pharmacy.
• Take your medications as directed.
• Keep your pharmacist up to date on any prescription, nonprescription or herbal or natural health products you are taking.
• Talk to your pharmacist if you are unsure about how to take or store your medications or if you are having any problems with your medications.
• Ask your pharmacist to help you select nonprescription medications.