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October is American Pharmacists Month. It is also “National Talk About Your Medications Month” which makes this the perfect opportunity to share facts you may not have known about your pharmacist and the importance of knowing and talking about your medications.

7 Things to Know about your Pharmacist

1. Pharmacists hold doctorate degrees.
2. Pharmacists are licensed in each state and must pass National AND State licensure exams to practice pharmacy.
3. Pharmacists can be board-certified in specialty areas.
4. Pharmacists can administer vaccines in all 50 states and have been essential in delivering flu vaccines every year for the last 20 years.
5. Pharmacists can provide Comprehensive Medication Management (CMM) services which optimize medication therapy and improve outcomes especially for people with multiple chronic medical conditions
6. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professional: More than 90% of people live within 5 miles of a pharmacy/pharmacist
7. Pharmacists do more than dispense medications: Pharmacists are highly educated and skilled health care professionals that work in a variety of settings such as primary care clinics, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, community pharmacies, the Federal government, and much more!

What everyone should know about their medications

While you may not always be offered a personal consultation regarding new, refill, or over the counter medications that you are taking, you do have the right to ask. The topics that should be addressed when talking about medications with your pharmacist include:
1. Name of the medication (brand and/or generic name)
2. The intended use of the medication and how the medication works
3. How to take medication, the form of medication, the dosage and when to take it.
4. Common side effects that may occur, how to avoid them (where applicable), and any actions to take should such side effects occur
5. Methods in which you can self-monitor if the medication is working (effectiveness), where applicable
6. Proper medication storage and disposal
7. Potential drug-drug, drug-food/beverage interactions or any other contraindications to taking the medication
8. Prescription refill information: how many refills do you have?
9. Actions to take when a dose is missed

Knowledge is power and an educated patient is an empowered patient. T.H.E Health and Wellness Center upholds the objectives of “Talk about Your Medicines” year round by offering patients Comprehensive Medication Management services. For further information or to request a consultation to discuss your medications in depth,
contact T.H.E at (323) 730-1920.

About the Author:

Cheryl Wisseh, PharmD, MPH is a Clinical Pharmacist at T.H.E Health and Wellness Center and serves patients mainly at the Western Clinic location. She is also a Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCI School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and an Assistant Professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Resources:
The Burnout Doctor Podcast; Dr. Jessica Louie PharmD, APh, BCCCP and OBRA ’90 at Sweet Sixteen:
A Retrospective Review US Pharm. 2008; 33(3): 59-65.