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April 15, 2014

The role of the pharmacist – A commitment to accuracy

Every day, behind their counters, pharmacists juggle an impressive array of information and drugs. This includes some 10,000 medications, 4,000 vitamins and natural products, 11,000 potential side effects and 6,000 contraindications.

From the time you hand in your prescription to the moment you receive your medication, pharmacists carry out a series of verifications to ensure that the prescribed drug is right for you, especially if you are taking it for the first time. Here are the main items on a pharmacist’s checklist.

A prescription in due form

The pharmacist checks whether the prescription is complete and makes sure that it was written by an authorized professional. Physicians, as well as other health professionals, such as dentists and optometrists, have the authority to prescribe drugs. Pharmacists must ensure that prescriptions comply with standard practices that exist in each profession.

The right drug for the right patient

For a drug to be effective, it must be taken in the appropriate dose. If the dose is too low, the drug’s therapeutic effect will not be optimal. If, on the other hand, the dose is too high, the medicine could be dangerous.

The pharmacist verifies whether the dose indicated by the physician is suited to the patient’s health issue and weight. It is easy to understand why, in the case of an infant, for example, the dose must be calculated with pinpoint accuracy, since even the slightest error could have a significant impact on a young patient’s health.

Medical history and previous drug reactions

By inquiring about previous reactions you may have had to a medication or to another drug in the same category, your pharmacist is making sure that the medicine is suitable for you.

If a drug led to problems in the past, whether to intolerance, an allergy, side effects or an adverse reaction, the pharmacist will be able to work with your physician on finding a replacement product. In addition, if a patient reacts poorly to penicillin, for instance, a pharmacist will be familiar with other similar drugs that can cause the same type of reactions.

As can be seen, pharmacists conduct a thorough verification of your medical and drug history when filling your prescriptions. That is why it is important to obtain your medications from a single pharmacy, as often as possible.

Contraindications

When assessing a new prescription, pharmacists always keep in mind the illnesses you have or may have. That’s because there are many drug-disease combinations that can be harmful to a person’s health. Pharmacists are familiar with the contraindications associated with various diseases. (If a person is diabetic, for example, the pharmacist will make sure a newly prescribed drug does not contain sugar). Pharmacists carefully analyze your drug history to ensure that your prescriptions are well suited to your health and situation.

Interactions

Pharmacists make sure a drug being prescribed to you for the first time will not cause unwanted interactions with other medications you are taking. In some cases, one drug can cancel out the beneficial effects of another, while yet another can increase its potency.

Over-the-counter drugs and natural products

As is the case with prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) and natural products can lead to side effects or unwanted reactions, interact with other drugs and even be contraindicated in certain cases depending on a person’s health issues. Always tell your pharmacist which OTCs and natural products you are taking, so that he can have a clear overview of your medication intake.

Pharmacy services

In addition to the services related to the delivery of medications, pharmacists offer a wide variety of in-store services. Learn more about these services and use them whenever you need to!

Questions?

Our FAQ to your pharmacist  lists the most popular questions people ask their pharmacist. See the answers provided by our medication experts.

You can also peruse our Prescription Medication Library for more information on a wide variety of drugs.

Services in pharmacy are the sole responsibility of pharmacist-owners. Only pharmacists are responsible for pharmacy practice. They only provide related services acting under a pharmacist-owner's name.

The uniprix.com Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.