Please Ask Your Pharmacist

Originally published at on January 16, 2015:
The flu has hit badly this year and even with a flu shot, many of us have fallen sick. In addition to hot liquids and rest, many of us have also taken over the counter remedies, such as cold and cough formulas and decongestants. With prescription medications, pharmacies include a fact sheet detailing adverse side effects and warning symptoms. Without this, we are left to decide which is the preferred option of the many selections available. This choice becomes further complicated by one’s own medical history and fully understanding the possible interactions between whatever medications (prescription, supplements and herbal remedies) that you may already be taking and this additional symptom reliever. If you are like most of us, you may not be fully cognizant of all the risks and possible drug interactions or not know that they apply to your particular situation. This is where your pharmacist can assist. Your pharmacist can explain ‘the best way to take your medications, ensuring that you know the possible side effects and how to manage them, and that you understand how your medications interact with other medications, food, and drink’. I am adding my own cautionary note, if you have high blood pressure, please speak to your pharmacist before considering any cold or flu remedy.

The MedsCheck program sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, is available to any eligible Ontarian at no charge once per year. If the need arises, you may also be eligible for one or more follow-up appointments throughout the year.
You are eligible for the MedsCheck program if you have a valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card and if any one of these is true:
• You take three or more prescription medications for a chronic condition.
• You have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
• You live in a licensed long-term care home.

If you are eligible for the MedsCheck program but are not able to leave your home to visit your community pharmacy, talk to your pharmacist about the MedsCheck at Home program. This is a great resource for many seniors as well.

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