A woman and her daughter talk to the pharmacist while picking up a new prescription.

New Prescription? Get Answers to These Questions First!

You’ve just left the doctor’s office with your mom. The physician has sent a new prescription to the pharmacy, slated to be ready upon your arrival. Your plan: swing by the drive-through, grab the meds, and treat Mom to lunch. But, could there be a crucial step you’re overlooking?

When a new medication is prescribed for an older loved one, whether for an existing condition or a new one, it’s wise to engage with the pharmacist to make sure you understand essential details. Here are key questions you’ll need answers to:

  1. What are the risks vs. benefits of this new prescription? Navigating the world of medications involves a delicate balance between risks and benefits. It’s crucial to recognize potential side effects early on, allowing you to promptly report any concerns to the prescribing physician. This open communication ensures that the person’s health is closely monitored and any necessary adjustments can be made. Ask the pharmacist about the long-term risks and benefits associated with the prescribed medication to allow you to make informed decisions.
  2. When and how should the meds be taken? Medications often come with specific requirements for optimal effectiveness. Knowing when and how to administer them can significantly impact their performance. Different medications may need to be taken with water, with a meal, or on an empty stomach. The time of day and the method of ingestion are also crucial considerations. The pharmacist can provide you with personalized guidance on the proper administration of each medication so the person receives the maximum benefit.
  3. What’s the cost, and will insurance cover it? Finances play a significant role in healthcare decisions, and understanding the cost of medications is essential. Inquire about the overall cost and explore whether insurance will cover it. If there are gaps in coverage, don’t hesitate to discuss more economical alternatives, such as generic versions. The pharmacist can offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of generic options, helping you make financially sound decisions without compromising the quality of care the person receives.
  4. How long will it take to start working? Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to waiting for medication to take effect. It’s crucial to understand how long it will take for the prescribed medication to start working to help manage expectations. This can prevent unnecessary calls to the doctor and ensure the person adheres to the treatment plan. Whether the impact is immediate or gradual, having a clear timeline provides a roadmap for the journey ahead, fostering a sense of control and understanding.
  5. Will this need to be taken over a long period of time? Not all medications are created equal, and it’s vital to determine whether the prescribed medication is a short-term solution or a long-term commitment. Clarify whether it addresses an acute health problem briefly or if it’s part of ongoing support for a chronic condition. The pharmacist can categorize the medication accordingly.

Add any additional questions that are appropriate to your situation, and bring the list with you when visiting the pharmacist. Being an advocate for an older loved one in this manner helps avert complications and ensures the person gets the most out of their medications.

At Senior HomeCare of Tucson, our care professionals are here to help and always go the extra mile. We can pick up prescriptions, ask the pharmacist questions, and act as companions to monitor changes or side effects. And, by providing medication reminders, we ensure prescriptions are taken precisely as the doctor ordered.
Reach out to us at (520) 355-4787 to find out more about our customized, comprehensive home care services in Oro Valley, Tucson, Catalina, and the surrounding areas.

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