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Working with Medications and Your Pharmacy  

Some teens and young adults are required to take medications to manage short term or long-term health issues. Whether you use pain reliever for occasional headaches, an inhaler for asthma attacks or a prescription for a chronic issue, it’s important to be aware of the proper methods of using and storing medication. Inappropriate handling of medications may result in medications losing their effectiveness, adversely affecting your health and/or getting in the wrong hands and harming someone else’s health.  

Pharmacists are a valuable resource for patients in many ways. Pharmacists are well-educated in both prescription and over-the-counter products and are able to help with any medication questions or concerns. Pharmacists work closely with your provider to give you professional guidance about your health. 

Use the following tips to ensure you are responsibly caring for the medications you currently possess or take:  

  • Keep away from children – If younger children are in the same home, store medications in childproof containers and out of reach.
  • Label your medications – All medication should be labeled clearly and left in original containers.  
  • Finish and use ONLY your prescription – Do not give or take medications that were prescribed for other people.This is important. Not only can this be dangerous, but it is more difficult for a provider to accurately diagnose a partially or inappropriately treated health concern.
  • Read the safety and dose information – When taking or giving medications, read the label and measure doses carefully.  Ensure the medication is not expired, and know the side effects of the medication you are taking. If a side effect in a medication is drowsiness, stay away from activities such as driving and other activities that could impact your and other’s safety 
  • Dispose of medications properly – Throw away outdated medication by mixing medications with dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds. Place mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag and place in trash. 

A pharmacist is your best point of contact to get counseling on how to take your medications, answer any questions about particular medications you’ve been prescribed and make sure all your medications work well together.  There are many advantages to talking to your pharmacist.    

  • Cost issue:?If you have an issue with the price of the medication, your pharmacist may be able to suggest alternatives to your doctor or know of other cost savings programs including co-payment assistance or patient assistance programs.
  • Medication counseling/Answering questions: When you pick-up a prescription (especially a new prescription) from the pharmacy, expect to have a conversation with the pharmacist as this is required by state law.  The purpose of the pharmacist speaking with you is to ensure you know how to take the medicine, what the medicine is used for, any side effects to expect (or how to avoid them) and additional items unique to the medication and your health.  If you don’t understand the directions on how to take the medications, ask your pharmacist! They can help explain the instructions and give tips on how to stay organized, like setting a schedule or filling a pillbox. 
  • Connection with your medical provider: If there is an issue with your prescription, your pharmacist can get in touch with your medical provider directly and let them know what needs to happen before they are able to fill it.
  • Talking to you about medicine safety: Your pharmacist can give important advice on which over-the-counter medicines, such as pain medicines and dietary supplements, are safe to use in combination with your prescription medicines.
  • Monitoring health problems: Your pharmacist can help you manage your conditions. For example, if you get your blood pressure or glucose checked at the pharmacy, you can share those numbers with your pharmacist. Your pharmacist can talk to you about your risk for high blood pressure or diabetes, give suggestions on how to monitor it, or recommend seeking medical care.  Should you choose to quit smoking, your pharmacist may have over-the-counter products to assist you during this process.
  • Helping you manage other health conditions: Pharmacists can give immunizations, like the annual flu shot and the shingles shot. Your pharmacist may be able to teach you how to use health equipment such as blood glucose monitors and inhalers if these are necessary for your care.

What are some tips on how I can communicate with my pharmacist: 

  • When you get a new health insurance card in the mail, make sure to bring the new card the next time you go to the pharmacy to update your insurance information. This goes for your medical provider’s office, too.
  • If your medical provider sends your prescription to the pharmacy electronically, call the pharmacy to check if they have received it, determine what your co-pay will be and when it will be ready for you to pick up before heading to the pharmacy. This will help to avoid delays and frustration.
  • Keep a record of the medications you take and give it to your pharmacist. Include all prescription and over-the-counter products, including vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Your pharmacist will use this to keep his/her records up-to-date and help you take medicine safely.
  • Let your pharmacy know if you’ve had any allergic reactions or problems with medicines. These issues will be noted on your chart and will ensure that in the future you are not given medications that could harm you.
  • Let your pharmacist know anything that could impact your use of the medicine, like if you have trouble swallowing pills, struggle to read labels, or can’t remember to take your medications.

What questions do I ask? 

  • If you’ve filled a new prescription
    • This is my first time taking this medication. What can I expect/What should I know? 
    • What is the name of my medication? 
    • How often should I take this medication? Is there a particular time of day?  What should I do if I miss a dose? 
    • What side effects should I watch for? What should I do if I encounter any side effects? 
    • Are there other prescriptions, over the counter, or generic drugs I could take instead? 
  • If you’re taking multiple medications
    • I’m currently taking multiple medications. Can I talk to someone to learn how I can best manage them together? 

At Legacy, specially trained pharmacists can quickly address your medication needs, help coordinate care, provide education and improve your access to care.  Learn more about Legacy Pharmacy here.  

  • When you get a new health insurance card in the mail, make sure to bring the new card the next time you go to the pharmacy to update your insurance information. This goes for your medical provider’s office, too.
  • If your medical provider sends your prescription to the pharmacy electronically, call the pharmacy to check if they have received it, determine what your co-pay will be and when it will be ready for you to pick up before heading to the pharmacy. This will help to avoid delays and frustration.
  • Keep a record of the medications you take and give it to your pharmacist. Include all prescription and over-the-counter products, including vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Your pharmacist will use this to keep his/her records up-to-date and help you take medicine safely.
  • Let your pharmacy know if you’ve had any allergic reactions or problems with medicines. These issues will be noted on your chart and will ensure that in the future you are not given medications that could harm you.
  • Let your pharmacist know anything that could impact your use of the medicine, like if you have trouble swallowing pills, struggle to read labels, or can’t remember to take your medications.

What questions do I ask? 

  • If you’ve filled a new prescription
    • This is my first time taking this medication. What can I expect/What should I know? 
    • What is the name of my medication? 
    • How often should I take this medication? Is there a particular time of day?  What should I do if I miss a dose? 
    • What side effects should I watch for? What should I do if I encounter any side effects? 
    • Are there other prescriptions, over the counter, or generic drugs I could take instead? 
  • If you’re taking multiple medications
    • I’m currently taking multiple medications. Can I talk to someone to learn how I can best manage them together? 

At Legacy, specially trained pharmacists can quickly address your medication needs, help coordinate care, provide education and improve your access to care.  Learn more about Legacy Pharmacy here.