5 questions you should ask your pharmacist


1. How should I take my medicine(s)?

Whether your medicines are prescribed or advised over the counter, you should always take them as directed. This is important to achieve the therapeutic benefit they provide. Also, in order to obtain continual lasting benefit of treatment, medication should always be taken for the duration stated by your healthcare professional. With some medications such as blood pressure medicines they can be prescribed for lifelong use and others such as antibiotics are prescribed for a particular course length.

2. What are the side effects?

Asking about side effects is important, because usually with medicines there can be a wide range of side effects. It is essential to note the common side effects of the medications you use in order to gauge whether you are experiencing any - especially when starting a new medication.

Side effects can range from person to person, but if you are experiencing them and they are causing discomfort it is important to notify a healthcare professional, such as your doctor or pharmacist, because they can advise you on how to minimise your side effects and/or suggest a change in medication, dosage or frequency in order to avoid discomfort. The patient information leaflet located in your medicine box will give more information on side effects however the list can be quite extensive and daunting to read. Speak to your pharmacist for more information and explanation of side effects.

3. Do I need antibiotics?

When feeling sick, ill and under the weather, it is easy to want antibiotics, because they helped before. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and therefore would not help with a viral infection.

Knowing when you need antibiotics is something your healthcare professional can help you with. Your GP, community pharmacist or nurse practitioner are trained to analyse your symptoms and signpost you to the appropriate treatment including if antibiotics are needed. Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem, locally and internationally. In order for us to tackle overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics it's important to share education and introduce better, more efficient alternatives to treat common health problems found in our communities. Speak to your local expert healthcare professionals for more details on how to best treat your symptoms.

Read on for questions 4 and 5.

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