Doctors and Nurses

Guide to the Homecare Encyclopedia

MEDICATIONS and THE PHARMACY:
Some Tools and Tricks

1

Use only one pharmacy!

Only use one pharmacy!

Did we mention, USE ONLY ONE PHARMACY!

Using more than one pharmacy can cause all kinds of problems.

• If you’re using more that one pharmacy, they can’t check for generic/brand medication double dosing (see above) or contraindications—the pharmacies don’t know what each other are prescribing.

• It’s inconvenient to run all over town filling prescriptions. If you’re busy, that can lead to you putting off making refill pick-ups. And that can lead to missed doses. (This can even lead to patients discontinuing, or stopping their medications, without the doctor knowing, by stopping going to a particular pharmacy.)

• If you go to more than one pharmacy you can’t get blister packs—The thing that makes getting and taking medication unbelievably easier!

2

Choose a pharmacy that delivers - make your life easier.

And, while you’re choosing that pharmacy, check to make sure their phone system isn’t a killer. Before you commit, give them a call—see how long they put you on hooo

3

Now that you’re using just one pharmacy, have them prepare for you a set of monthly blister packs!

    • Blister packs are the best.  They can make getting refills and taking pills WAY EASIER!  They’re a sheet of cardboard with a plastic bubble compartment for each set of pills you take during the day, for a week.  So, for each day, Monday – Friday, there is a bubble (for example):

▪ for Morning (all the pills you take in the AM).

▪ for Evening (all the pills you take after dinner).

▪ for Bedtime (all the pills you take before bed).

4

Work with your doctor and your pharmacy toward taking medications no more than twice a day.

These are the times most medications are prescribed:

    • Morning.
    • Afternoon.
    • Evening.
    • Bedtime.
    • With meals.
    • Combine times:
      • Take your morning pills with the “with food” pills you take with breakfast.
      • Take your evening pills with the “with food” pills you take with dinner.
      • Take your evening pills at bedtime.
    • Talk to your doctor.
      • This is mainly important if you find yourself taking pills 3 or 4 times a day. Say to your doctor, “I really want to follow your instructions, but I’m concerned I’ll be forgetful if I have to take medication 3 (or 4) times a day. Is there a way I could only take my pills two different times during the day?

5

Make sure you’re not “double dosing.”

Many of them have funny names like ‘amlodipine besylate’ and ‘Norvasc.’ (Really, would you name one of your kids ‘amlodipine besylate?’)—But here’s another funny thing—amlodipine besylate and Norvasc are the exact same drug—amlodipine besylate is the generic and Norvasc is the brand: It’s called generic/brand medication double dosing. So, if you’re taking 10 mg a day of each, you’re getting twice as much as you need, or should be taking.

These mistakes are actually pretty common.  They happen most often when a patient goes to two doctors: one doc prescribes amlodipine besylate and the other prescribes Norvasc (It can also happen when a doctor switches medications, say from amlodipine to Norvasc, but forgets to cancel one of them).

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