By Kimberly Pellicore
Every day, adults and children get diagnosed with asthma, allergies and related conditions. For some, the diagnosis provides much-needed answers. For others, it creates more questions.
A licensed pharmacist can be an important part of your healthcare team. Pharmacists work with patients, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies on a daily basis. They play a key role in improving access to medications and finding ways to lower costs.
Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge that can benefit patients beyond filling prescriptions. Their guidance should in no way replace the advice of your doctor.
Here are five ways that pharmacists can assist patients in allergy and asthma health.
1. Explain or demonstrate how to correctly use a prescribed medication.
Request a meeting with your pharmacist for details about a prescribed medication, including:
- what dosage to use
- when to use it
- how it works
- how it will help you.
When not used right, medications are less effective. A pharmacist can teach you how to correctly use a metered-dose inhaler or dry powder inhaler.
2. Consult insurance for information on copays and generic options.
A pharmacist may suggest options to reduce the cost or copay. Options may include:
- reliable generic medication
- drug card
3. Tell patients about products to help reduce exposure to environmental allergens.
Develop an open line of communication with your pharmacist. They can suggest cost-effective steps to reduce triggers in your home. Some trigger reduction products include:
- dust mite-proof mattress and pillow covers
- non toxic pest control
- air filters
Pharmacists can also explain how to use these products designed to control allergens.
4. Check ingredients in medications to determine if they contain a known allergen.
Some medications may contain food allergens. The pharmacist can check for an allergen in a medication. It’s best to alert the pharmacy in advance before you pick up your prescription.
5. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist if a bad reaction occurs to a medication or side effects are a problem.
Let your doctor and pharmacist know as soon as possible if you have an allergic reaction or bad side effects to a medication. The doctor and pharmacist can work together to identify an acceptable substitute.
Reviewed by Dennis Williams, PharmD