5 questions to ask your Pharmacist

When you pick up a new prescription does it feel like a business transaction or more like a conversation with your pharmacist?  Most of us would say a business transaction.  In reality, engaging your pharmacist is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your prescriptions.  

They are trained to offer counseling and help you understand your medications.

Here’s some common questions to get the conversation started:

Is there a generic alternative available for my medication?

There may be a medication that acts similarly to your specific medication that is available as a generic. Since generics come at a lower cost it may be a great way to save money.

How should I take this medication?

In order to get the best results, some medications are best taken at a specific time of day. Some should be taken with food, and others on an empty stomach.  Tablets, for example, may need to be split or crushed.

What are the side effects with this medication?

It’s important to know the most common and most severe side effects.  Medications may impact what foods you can eat or whether you should drive. Always let your pharmacist know if you are pregnant or nursing, as some medications could harm your baby.

Is my prescription safe to take with my other medications?

Tell your pharmacist about all the medications you’re currently taking, including over-the- counter vitamins and dietary supplements.  That way, your pharmacist can identify all potential drug interactions.

How should I store my medications?

Most prescriptions should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from moisture and preferably out of direct sunlight.  The bathroom medicine cabinet may not be the best place because of the humidity in the room.  Some prescriptions may require refrigeration.  Your pharmacist can tell you how best to store them.

Helping patients understand their medication is one of the most gratifying aspects of a pharmacist’s job.  You should not be afraid to start the conversation about your medication or any other health related issues.



The percentage of the bill you pay after your deductible has been met.


A fixed amount you pay when you get a covered health service.

Tiered benefit plan

A health care plan featuring multiple levels of benefits based on the network status of a particular provider. 


The annual amount you pay for covered health services before your insurance begins to pay.

emergency care services

Any covered services received in a hospital emergency room setting.


Includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy

in-network provider

A provider contracted by your insurance company to accept an agreed upon payment for covered services. 

OUT-OF-network provider

A term for providers that aren’t contracting with your insurance company. (Your out-of-pocket costs will tend to be more expensive if you go to an out-of-network provider.)


Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.


If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.


The amount you pay to your health insurance company each month. 

Preventive services

Health care services that focus on the prevention of disease and health maintenance.


Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured or have surgery. This includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.

special enrollment period

The time after the Open Enrollment Period when you can still purchase health insurance only if you have a qualifying life event (losing other health coverage, having a baby, getting married, moving).


A physician who has a majority of his or her practice in fields other than internal or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or family practice.