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Armalyn    For your well-being
 

When asked any of these questions by a health care professional:

Do you have any allergies?”

Do you have any medical conditions?”

Do you take any medications? If so, what are the drugs and what condition are they for?”

Your answers will affect the outcome of your health. Unfortunately, not all people know the answers to the above questions. It is important to know the answers to receive the best type of treatment possible.

Medical conditions

Always inform your pharmacist of any existing health condition. Here is good example of the usefulness of this information. You may visit a pharmacy near your place of work to pick up a medication for your headache. If you were in your first trimester of pregnancy and the fact that you were pregnant was not brought up, you may leave the pharmacy with the wrong drug treatment. In your first trimester it would be hard to tell if you were pregnant, particularly under a parka. Certain medications for headaches should not be used in pregnancy. Not informing the pharmacist of your pregnancy may result in the selection of the wrong type of treatment for you.

What if you didn’t ask the pharmacist for advice? It doesn’t hurt to just ask and double check. The pharmacist is there to help you choose the correct treatment that takes into consideration any medical conditions current or otherwise. You just have to give that information and all personal heath information is kept in the strictest confidence by law.

Medications

Some basic information about your current medications such as the drug names and what they are for is very important to know. To help you remember, you can write it down on a piece of paper and carry it in your wallet. There are also medical bracelets or necklaces that can be personalized to have health conditions, medications or allergies recorded on jewellery. Your pharmacist will need to know what drugs, if any, you are currently taking in order to give you the correct recommendation.

There are several drug interactions that exist among prescription, non-prescription drugs and herbal medicines. For example, you have a cold and need something for your stuffy nose and you are currently taking a new medication to lower your blood pressure. Decongestant drugs are found in sinus and cold products that may increase blood pressure. You might pick up a sinus medication that could have negative effects on you.

Allergies

Allergies to medication should not only be reported to your doctor but to your pharmacist as well. Certain prescription and non-prescription drugs may contain ingredients that you may be allergic to. For example, you went to a walk-in clinic and you were given a prescription for amoxicillin. If you didn’t tell the doctor at the clinic that you were allergic to penicillin at least tell the person filling your prescription. A severe allergic reaction can be prevented. Amoxicillin belongs to the same group of drugs as penicillin and can cause negative effects if you are allergic to it. A quick phone call to your family doctor by your pharmacist can fix the prescription and the pharmacy will now have their own record about your allergy and prevent future mix-ups.

It is important for you to know as much about your health as possible. Work with your health care professionals and give them all the pertinent information so that they can help you achieve positive outcomes for your health.

The above information is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor, pharmacist or qualified health care professional to receive proper medical treatment.

Armalyn Tesoro is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. She is currently working as a licensed community pharmacist at Wal-Mart on Ellice and Empress.

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