20 Things Pharmacists Want You to Know

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11. You are probably disposing of pills the wrong way

If you are simply flushing old meds down the toilet or the drain, you are not disposing of them safely. Pharmaceuticals, and the hormones and other ingredients they contain, make their way to lakes and streams, polluting these waters, hurting the fish, other marine life, and possibly ending up in sources of drinking water. “At the very least you want to grind them in a coffee grinder to deactivate the narcotics.” Many pharmacies have specific days when people can drop old pills off.

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12. Don’t trust just any site about meds

Many people have the tendency to google everything they are not familiar with and that includes medications. The problem is that the sites that actually do have credible information about drugs, such as sites available to doctors and pharmacists, have a firewall or require a subscription, Moore noted. “More general sites have probably not been tested for accuracy.”

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13. You take pills with water for a reason

Most people know that combining pills, especially opioids, should not be mixed with alcohol because they can impact the lungs and cause slow and shallow breathing. Listen to your doctor and stick with a glass of water. The water will help the pill go all the way down to the stomach, Moore said. You don’t want them stuck on your esophagus because some ingredients can really irritate it, she noted. This is even more important for older adults, as they produce less saliva.

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14. Pharmacists can’t read the doctor’s handwriting either

Doctors are notorious for having illegible handwriting. You may think that pharmacists have some sort of tips of secrets to decipher what’s written on a prescription piece of paper but you’d be wrong. Many doctors now send prescriptions electronically in order to avoid any confusion. In fact, it’s the law, at least in New York State. Physicians have been legally required to electronically prescribe both controlled and non-controlled substances as of March 27, 2016.

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15. Know your insurance coverage

Dealing with insurance companies is no one’s favorite pastime, communicating more with your provider is one way to get the right medications at a fair price and in a reasonable time. The average person does not know what his or her insurance covers. However, knowing what is covered under their plan is one of the easiest ways to get an effective treatment, Moore said. You should at least access the insurance website before going to the doctor to get some sense of what is covered, she noted.