Start a medication conversation

10/10/2017  By HealthNews

October 10, 2017

October is National Talk About Your Medications Month

Everyone has a daily ritual. For most adults, it involves some form of medication.

While it seems silly to talk about something we do almost without thought, the ease of buying and taking medications can lead us to forget that each of these various pills, injections, drops and ointments has an effect on our health. If taken improperly that effect can be dangerous.

Medication comes with the risks of contraindications and side effects. As we age, medication needs increase - and so do memory challenges. There's a clear need for help that is both timely and accurate.

Talk with us about what you've found online.
- Nasser Basmeh, KVH Pharmacy Director

Information overload
Thanks to the internet, we have access to more health-related information than ever before. Now, not only do we talk to our friends and family about what new diet plan to try, we Google it. We've become so used to finding instant answers that we plug our symptoms into a search engine to find the reasons for our aches and pains.

Sure, the online path is timely, but accuracy is another matter.

KVH's Pharmacy Director Nasser Basmeh has no problem with the neighbor-askers and internet searchers of the world. "By all means, if you want to research something, do it," says Basmeh. The next step? "Bring that information to your provider or pharmacist. Talk with us about what you find online before you start using that new supplement or medication."

"It's not a one-size-fits-all proposition," warns Basmeh. "What worked for your neighbor or your spouse won't necessarily work for you. Taking pills for potassium deficiency because it did wonders for your best friend may land you and your otherwise normal potassium levels in the emergency room with irregular cardiac rhythms."

Medication counseling
If you're a prescription drug user, the law ensures at least an occasional chat with your pharmacist. "In Washington state, new prescriptions and their refills are only good for up to one year," says Basmeh. "That's why your pharmacist will talk with you when you get that first fill or a renewed prescription, even if you've been taking the medication for years. It's a legal requirement, for the safety of the patient."

When it comes to medication conversations, your provider is a great place to start. While many patients get all the information they need during a doctor's visit, it can be easy to forget. Medication counseling is often a tiny fraction of an exam. When you get home with your bottle of new pills and realize you forgot most of what you heard about them, you want that timely answer - but you also want it to be accurate. The pharmacist often fits the bill.

"There's a different dynamic in the relationship between patient and pharmacist," says Basmeh. "Anyone can simply call or walk up to a pharmacy window, without needing to make an appointment or fill out any paperwork, and ask the pharmacist questions like, 'I always have a glass of wine after dinner, which is when I'm supposed to take this new medication. Is that still okay?' And we're happy to have those conversations, to answer those questions. Counseling is an important part of what we do."

Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, HealthNews does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare provider.