Senior Scene: Talking with your pharmacist

To learn how to use medicines safely, here are some tips for talking with your pharmacist.

Your pharmacist can help you learn how to use your prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines safely and increase the benefits and decrease the risks. You can also use these tips when talking with your other health care professionals.

Tell your pharmacist everything you use. Keep a record and give a copy to your pharmacist. Make sure you include all the prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, herbals, and other supplements you use. Your pharmacist will use this to keep his/her records up to date and help you use the medicines safely. Be sure to mention any allergic reactions or problems you have had with medicines, medicines with dietary supplements, medicines with food, or medicines with other treatments. Also mention anything that could affect your use of medicine, such as if you have trouble swallowing, reading labels, remembering to use medicine, or paying for medicine. Before you start using something new, ask your pharmacist to help you avoid medicines, supplements, and other things that might not mix well with your medicines.

Before you leave the pharmacy with your prescription, look to be sure you have the right medicine. If you’ve bought the medicine before, make sure this medicine has the same shape, color, size, markings, and packaging. If anything is different speak, with your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care professional. Be sure you know the right dose for the medicine and you know how to use it. Any questions, ask your pharmacist.

Go to to learn about choosing the medicine that’s best for you, buying medicine from sources you can trust, and using medicine to increase its safety and effectiveness.

See you in two weeks, Chris