If you think your pharmacy is just a place to pick up pills, you may want to think again — for the sake of your health.
Having a relationship with a pharmacist you trust, and getting all your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy can play a huge role in keeping you healthy and cutting health care costs.
Prescription drug issues lead to hospital admissions
Each year, thousands of people end up in the hospital from drug-related problems. In fact, it's estimated that 5–10 percent of hospital admissions were due to drug-related issues, and 50 percent of those are avoidable.
Taking your medication correctly is one way to avoid a trip to the hospital. But, you don't have to do it alone.
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A pharmacy home can prevent medication issues
A pharmacy home means you get all your prescriptions filled at one single pharmacy. In this case, your pharmacist has a complete look at all the medications you're taking. This helps them do three important things:
- Know any allergies you have and their impact on your medications.
- Make sure none of the drugs or supplements you take interact poorly with one another.
- Check the dosage to ensure it's correct, based on your health condition.
"There is a greater potential for harmful interactions or duplicates to occur when using different pharmacies. By having everything filled in one place, it's more likely that errors will be caught," says Shannon Raschke, senior clinical pharmacist at Wellmark. "For instance, a pharmacist might note that you are taking two medications that don't work well together, or that it's time to stop taking another medication," she continues.
A pharmacy home helps you develop a relationship with your pharmacist
You already know that having a relationship with your personal doctor is important. A relationship with your pharmacist is important, too. Plus, you probably see your pharmacist a lot more often than you do your doctor.
Talking to your pharmacist regularly can help you:
- Understand the best way to store and take medications.
- Be aware of possible side effects and what foods, drinks or activities should be avoided while taking the medication.
- Know what to do if you miss a dose.
"Pharmacists really are the medication experts. You might not realize it, but a lot goes on between the time your prescription arrives at the pharmacy and when you pick it up," says Raschke.
Choosing a pharmacy home for you
Walk outside your doorstep and you'll probably find a pharmacy around the corner. But, one pharmacy may work better for you, based on your lifestyle and preferences.
If you have a lot of prescriptions or handle medications for someone else, you might need more one-on-one attention from the pharmacist. You may be more likely to get this from a smaller, independent pharmacy.
On the other hand, if you need to pick up prescriptions during odd hours, travel for work, or want to grab your medications on-the-go, a larger, 24-hour pharmacy may be better.
Whatever your preference, myWellmark® makes it easy to find a pharmacy home that's right for you. Simply register or log in and select Prescription Drugs. Here, you can locate a pharmacy, check the cost of a prescription drug, according to your benefits, and review the Wellmark Drug List.