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Managing a Chronic Condition? Five Questions for Your Pharmacist

Given the high prevalence of chronic disease in the U.S., it's likely that you or someone you love is living with an ongoing illness like heart disease or diabetes. In fact, about 133 million people (or 45 percent of the population) are affected by at least one chronic condition.

Fortunately, taking medication as directed can significantly improve health outcomes for people with chronic conditions. Talking to a pharmacist can help patients get off on the right foot with a new medication regimen, and dedicated time with a pharmacist is available at your local pharmacy.

The CARE 1on1 program at CVS/pharmacy offers a full prescription review and consultation with a pharmacist about medication safety, possible savings and potential side effects when you fill or transfer a new, ongoing prescription for the first time.

Chicago-area based pharmacist at CVS/pharmacy, Eric Reid, recommends these five questions to help you get the conversation started with your pharmacist.

  • How do I take my medication correctly? Knowing how and when to take a medication will help maximize its effectiveness. For example, some drugs are best taken with food or at bedtime.
  • What are the possible side effects? Your pharmacist can tell you the possible side effects, how likely they are, and what to do if they happen. Most side effects go away with time or can be managed by simple measures. Others are more serious and require a conversation with your doctor immediately.
  • Why is it important to stick to my medication therapy? As your pharmacist will explain, medicine only works when it is taken as directed, and not doing so may lead to poor health and extra medical costs.
  • Are there any potential drug interactions with the medications I am already taking? Your pharmacist can help you reduce the risk of dangerous drug interactions. It's best to bring all of your prescriptions to one pharmacy, creating a "pharmacy home." And, make your pharmacist aware of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you take.
  • How can I save money on prescription drugs? Your pharmacist can inform you about less expensive, generic alternatives to your brand name drugs, or about using a mail-order pharmacy.

Addressing such questions with your pharmacist can help make treatment of a chronic disease more manageable, ultimately leading to better health.

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