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7 Questions You Didn’t Know You Could Ask a Pharmacist

Pharmacists are underrated and underutilized healthcare resources that can go above and beyond for you if you know how to ask the right questions. Beyond dispensing or refilling your prescriptions, there's so much you can do at your local community pharmacy to help you stay on top of your health. All you have to do is ask a pharmacist.

In this article, we list down several key questions you probably didn’t know you could—but definitely should—ask your pharmacist.

Let’s delve right in!

1. Can You Help Me Find a More Affordable Alternative? 

Medicine can be costly. As a result, some people resort to cutting pills, skipping a dose, or stopping the medication altogether. Unfortunately, this can only do you more harm than good, especially with antibiotics. Not taking antibiotics as prescribed can cause certain bacteria to come back stronger or result in drug-resistance.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can't afford a prescription, don't hesitate to ask a pharmacist for a cheaper alternative. They can help you find a less expensive or generic brand so you can cut costs without compromising your health and overall safety.  

2. Can This Drug Cause Harmful Interactions With Food, Alcohol, or Supplements? 

Do you get anxious about consuming something that might not go well with your meds? Can you take antibiotics and antacids at the same time? Is it true that grapefruit juice can mess up the therapeutic effects of prescription drugs? These are just some of the great questions you can ask a pharmacist about. 

Pharmacists are always ready to help you navigate the world of prescriptions. Write down or print out a list of everything you're concerned about — including existing medications for other conditions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and health supplements, and foods and drinks you frequently consume. They would be more than happy to go over your list with you and explain which ones can cause harmful interactions and other contraindications related to your current prescription.

A pharmacist assisting a customer

3. Will I Get Drowsy From This Drug? 

Don’t think twice about asking a pharmacist regarding the known short-term or long-term side effects of drugs you are about to take. Because they are not affiliated with specific brands, pharmacists can be trusted to give honest expert opinions about medications.

In addition, they can suggest alternatives that offer the same benefits with fewer risks of adverse effects that you might be worried about. Pharmacists can also warn you about possible allergic reactions.

4. Can You Give Me a Vaccine? 

Because they are licensed healthcare professionals, you can ask a pharmacist to administer immunizations. Whether it's influenza, shingles, tetanus, pneumococcal, hepatitis A and B, chickenpox, polio, measles, HPV, or any other specific vaccine you need to get before travelling, like Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, or meningococcal disease, your pharmacist can definitely do the jab for you. 

Book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment with The Boardwalk Pharmacy online.

5. Can You Teach Me How to Use Lancets or Do Self-Injections? 

Suppose you are daunted by the thought of pricking yourself with a lancet for blood sugar testing or are hesitant about injecting yourself with insulin to manage diabetes or administer an EpiPen for severe allergic reactions. In that case, you can ask a pharmacist to demonstrate or give you specific tips and techniques to help you feel more comfortable and confident about the process.

6. How Can I Quit Smoking for Good? 

There is no cookie-cutter approach to quitting smoking. For most people, it involves multiple strategies. The most successful ones are usually a combination of attending counselling and taking medications. 

So, if you're determined to walk away from tobacco but have no idea where to begin, don't fret; ask a pharmacist near you. As the most accessible healthcare professionals in the local community, pharmacists can play a crucial role in helping someone stop smoking by:

  • Recommending different smoking cessation medications — from over-the-counter nicotine transdermal patches to prescription-only options, such as Chantix (varenicline tartrate) and Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride).
  • Providing advice and tips on how to manage and minimize consequent nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Referring you to other potential sources that may contribute to your journey of quitting smoking.

7. Can You Write a Prescription for Birth Control? 

In Canada, pharmacists everywhere, except Nunavut, can renew and extend prescriptions for contraceptives—such as oral, patch, vaginal ring, injectables, and intrauterine contraception or IUD— to women facing difficulties getting in touch with their doctor. On the other hand, pharmacists in four Canadian provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Nova Scotia) can prescribe different options for contraception to women in varying degrees. 

A customer asking a pharmacist about birth control

Need to Ask a Pharmacist Something? The Boardwalk Pharmacy Is Here to Help 

Beyond our extensive range of premium-quality products, The Boardwalk Pharmacy is best known for delivering exceptional customer service. We have a world-class team of pharmacists and technicians who are fully committed to providing all our patients with the highest level of pharmaceutical care. 

Don't miss out on the wealth of healthcare knowledge they've got to offer – ask a pharmacist your burning questions today! For detailed inquiries about our online prescription refill services, don't hesitate to contact us or visit our Kitchener-Waterloo location. Our friendly pharmacists will be more than happy to assist you.