Your Pharmacist Can…
Not every Albertan knows about all of the services pharmacists provide. More than just dispensing medications, your pharmacist can be a regular and reliable resource for the healthcare of you and your family.
Want to know more about the prescriptions you’re taking? Curious about how you can better manage your health condition? Pharmacists have unique knowledge and skill to allow them to provide you with answers to questions like these, and many more.
Whether it’s a single issue or multiple, overlapping conditions, everyone appreciates time for counsel and advice. Your pharmacist is trained to take the time to talk with you so you know how to live better with a condition, how to manage multiple medications and supplements, and how to maintain as much control over your own health outcomes as possible.
If it’s a one-time, emergency refill or a new prescription, pharmacists are able to write prescriptions, for a variety of issues, and can adjust an existing prescription from your doctor as well.
Pharmacists can administer vaccines to help prevent conditions like the flu, shingles, and pneumonia. Don’t have time for an appointment at the travel clinic? With advance notice, your pharmacist can also order and administer many travel-specific injections.
There are some illnesses that can be assessed and treated by a pharmacist in Alberta. For example, many pharmacies are equipped with portable, rapid strep throat testing. Once the test results are available, usually within about 15 minutes, the pharmacist can then prescribe the appropriate medication if required.
Pharmacists can advocate on your behalf. In some cases, a pharmacist may identify an issue with a prescribed medication in relation to your individual circumstances. For example, a walk-in clinic doctor may prescribe a medication that interacts with a medication prescribed by a different doctor. Your pharmacist is well positioned to identify these adverse reactions before they become a problem, and work with your doctor to make it right
Alberta, pharmacists are able to provide services beyond drug dispensing. These services include:
- Being the first point of contact for a new prescription or treatment
- Adjusting existing, doctor-prescribed medications
- Providing one-on-one counsel to patients, such as comprehensive medication management and substance abuse counselling
- Order lab tests for further analysis of a patient’s condition and potential prescriptions or treatments
- Recommending over-the-counter products to deal with less serious conditions
- Educating patients on storage and disposal of medicine
- Providing supportive treatment for minor injuries and ailments such as burns, colds, and flu
- Administering injections, including travel vaccinations
- Issuing prescription refills on an emergency basis
- Teaching patients how to use medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors and inhalers
- Assistance with weight loss
- Give advice on natural health products
- Helping you quit smoking. They can recommend over-the-counter medication, as well as counselling.
What information should I ask for/provide to my pharmacist?
Pharmacists are highly accessible and are able to answer many questions related to your medications and overall well-being. You can ask your pharmacist:
- Are my vaccinations up-to-date?
- How should I dispose of my needles or syringes?
- I would like to quit smoking: how do I stop?
- What is my current blood pressure?
- What do I do if I don’t feel well after taking my prescribed medication?
- What do I do if I miss my dose?
- Why am I taking this medication in the first place?
- How and when should I take my prescribed medication?
- Is there anything that I should avoid, such as certain foods or drinks, while I take my medication?
- How will this medication affect my allergies?
- If I begin to feel better after taking my medication can I stop taking it?
- Are there any activities I cannot perform while on my medication, such as driving?
If pharmacists can provide so many services, do I still need to see my doctor?
While pharmacists are able to provide a number of different healthcare services to Albertans, they are not able to replace the advice and support provided by a medical doctor. Alberta’s pharmacists work best as an integrated partner with other healthcare providers, and some of the services they offer require consultation with a doctor. In order for patients to have the best healthcare outcomes, it’s important to make sure that doctor visits remain a part of the overall care plan.