Have you ever picked up a prescription, got home and realized you had a question? Maybe you had a headache but weren’t sure how the pain reliever would work with another medication you take? You’re not alone.
“Your safety is important to us. Don’t be afraid to call and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain prescription directions again if you didn’t understand them the first time,” encourages Dr. George Jones, Chief of the Defense Health Agency Pharmacy Division. “And it’s always a good idea to write down any additional or special instructions so you don’t forget them once you get home.”
Your pharmacist should be the first resource you use to answer questions about your drugs. If you are taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol®), cough medicines, herbal supplements or aspirin, those drugs can interfere with other medications. Because you purchased these products OTC, there is no record in the pharmacy’s computer system to prevent harmful drug interactions. It is important that you tell your pharmacist about taking OTC products when you fill any prescription.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is another good resource. FDA’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) will answer almost any drug question and are easy to reach. The DDI responds to an average of 4,432 telephone calls, 1,531 emails and 91 letters with drug questions every month. The top five questions DDI pharmacists receive are:
- What are the possible side effects of my medicine, and where can I find the most current information about the drugs I take?
- How do I report a bad reaction to a medicine or a medication error to FDA?
- Are generic drugs the same as brand name drugs?
- How can I find out when a generic will be available for a medicine I take?
- How do I discard medicine that I no longer need?
Did you know that if you get your prescriptions from TRICARE Home Delivery
, you still have access to a pharmacist 24/7? You can get answers to these and other questions by calling Express Scripts, Inc., the contractor who manages the TRICARE prescription benefit at 1-877-363-1303. You can also call the FDA Division of Drug Information at 1-855-543-DRUG (3784).