Brown bag your meds to a local pharmacist
Are you or a family member taking multiple prescription medications? Are you taking them along with several other over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements?
If so, you might want to take advantage of this one-day event.
Saturday, Oct. 21, is the first ever National Check Your Meds Day, sponsored by Consumer Reports and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and supported by pharmacists in the community.
Why is this event an important health service?
With half of Americans regularly taking prescription medication—four, on average, according to a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 1,947 adults—a medication “checkup” can reduce your risk of side effects and interactions, and stop you from taking unnecessary pills.
Several pharmacy chains are participating in the event, including Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart. Check with your pharmacy if it’s not on this list.
Stop by or call them to make an appointment for a medication review.
What the pharmacist will tell you
Even if your pharmacy (or pharmacies!) are not participating in this year’s event, most pharmacists are willing to review your medications with you. You may need to make an appointment, and some might charge a copay. Check with your insurance company.
A face-to-face with a pharmacist will make sure
- You still need to be taking the medication.
- You understand the purpose of each medication.
- You understand the side effects of each medication.
- You understand the directions for each medication.
- Any dangerous drug interactions are caught.
- You are informed if there is a cheaper medication option.
- You aren’t taking duplicate medications.
You’d be shocked how frequently I’ve seen patients (usually the elderly) bring in bags of medications to appointments. Drugs prescribed by different doctors and filled by different pharmacies. Drugs that have an expiration date of years ago. Drugs that the patients have absolutely no idea why they are taking them.
Related post: Deprescribing prescription drugs
I’m of the mind that we are all taking too many medications anyway, and they are being prescribed too freely.
But if we can’t stop prescribing them, at least we can take more care that we and our loved ones are taking their drugs as safely and responsibly as possible.