Managing your Meds

. April 1, 2020.
Health Feature_ Managing meds -Pharmacist

Local pharmacies making life easier

Managing medications can be a daunting task, for yourself or for an aging parent. In addition to prescription and over-the-counter meds, herbal supplements can be added to the mix. With many potentially redundant (and possibly dangerous) combinations in your medicine cabinet, your health and wellness depend on a well-structured routine and reliable resources.

Vigilance is key when it comes to medication management, so make sure to communicate clearly, not only with your doctor, but with your pharmacist as well. Pharmacies have tools to keep your meds up-to-date, and pharmacists can even help you save time and money.

Stay organized

Take the guess-work out of your daily routine with compliance packages, which pre-package individual/ daily doses for the whole month or are broken down into weekly packs. It’s so much easier to have your pills separated into packets for morning, noon, dinner and bedtime.

Ryan Pharmacy, which has served the Toledo area for over 60 years, offers these compliance packages with a punch-card system for patients to keep up with doses they’ve taken throughout the day.

“We package that for them in a no-charge service,” says Ryan pharmacist Keven Secrest. “We understand that it’s a complex healthcare system we live with— medicines change all the time, the names are confusing, dosing schedules can be unclear— if we take over that service for the patient, we work with their doctors to make sure [the patient] is getting the correct medications.”

At Ryan Pharmacy, patients can undergo Medication Management Therapy (MMT), a consultation service during which a pharmacist discusses prescribed medications with a patient, and keeps records of that information so that it can be printed out clearly for them to reference. These MMT sessions can be done over the phone or in an in-person interview.

Automatic refills

Opting for automatic refill notifications is another helpful way to stay on track, but you’ll want to make sure that the refills you’re getting are still needed. For example, you might have several refills on pain meds that you feel you no longer need, leaving you with a cabinet full of pills that may become a burden to dispose of responsibly. Of course, make sure to consult with your physician before making any changes in the prescriptions you are taking.

Synchronization programs like the one offered at Kahler Pharmacy can make things easier when it comes to refills. You can get all of your prescriptions filled on the same day, even if you receive a prescription halfway through your regular cycle of meds.

The value of consultations

Consultations, both over the phone and in person, are an invaluable way to stay informed about the pills you’re taking. It’s also a good way to know if there are alternatives to taking pills, like liquid options if that works better for you. You might also find yourself struggling to pay full-price for a medication that is very necessary for you to take.

Kahler Pharmacy owner Nicholas Tabb always lets customers know about generic options. “We never want to see someone not taking their medications because of a price issue,” explains Tabb, adding that it is important to learn about what is the cheapest, but most effective, option.

While consultations with your pharmacist don’t take the place of communicating with your doctor, they are often much more immediate and equally helpful. “Patients often say that we’re easier to get ahold of than doctors,” says Tabb. “We get calls about over-the-counter things and herbal medicines, especially during cold season.”

As Tabb points out, opting for a local pharmacy also has some advantages over larger chains.

“Some chains have floating pharmacists and high turnover,” explains Tabb. “We get to know you and the whole family.” This familiarity makes it easier to stay consistent. Plus, local pharmacies generally have comparable resources, like apps and websites that provide information on your medication, online refills and more. For instance, if you’ve forgotten the purpose of one of your medications, Kahler’s website has a convenient search tool that can help.

Avoid complacency

It’s easy to fall into a rut, not questioning the benefits or the continued need for pills you’ve been taking for a long time, as well as how much you’re spending. Take the time to meet with your pharmacist, or simply give them a call to see what programs and helpful scheduling options they offer. From free deliveries and organizational tools to educational resources and cheaper prescriptions, you’ll likely be surprised at what a difference it can make.

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