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When It Comes to Prescription Drugs, Get Smart
Date:11/5/2008

cal problems they're having. Anecdotally, we've all heard about someone going into a physician's office and they'll be asked what's wrong and they'll respond, 'I'm fine,' without thinking."

When visiting the pharmacy, consumers should be sure to open up the little prescription vial and check out their medications before they leave, Zive added.

"Even if we fill it correctly, sometimes the prescription as written is not what they need or were told by their doctor to expect," he said. "Also, we might fill a prescription with a generic that looks different from the brand name pill, and that can cause some concern when they get home. Better to be assured at the counter."

Finally, people should understand that all drugs have risks as well as benefits, and be ready to have a frank discussion with their health-care professionals about those risks, Bullman said.

"We're encouraging them to raise that issue and have that dialogue with the prescriber about risks versus benefits," he said. "There may be an alternative medication to the one the patient is taking that would better suit their lifestyle."

More information

To learn more visit the National Council on Patient Information and Education.



SOURCES: Ray Bullman, executive vice president, the National Council on Patient Information and Education, Bethesda, Md.; Joel Zive, owner and pharmacist, Zive Pharmacy, New York City, and spokesman, American Pharmacists Association, Washington, D.C.


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