August 17, 2017
link to facebook link to twitter

Know Your Pharmacist…Know Your Medicine

By: Julie Ann Soukoulis
June 16, 2017

This rings loud and strong! So I asked geriatric pharmacist Dr. Sheryl Havermann to let us know what pharmacists want their patients to know.

Do you know one of the most common reasons for hospitalization with the aging is medication mismanagement?

I’ve put together my list of the 5 things that your pharmacist wants you to know. This list applies to you as a patient, and also to you as a caregiver, whether that role is the caregiver of a child or an elderly adult.

Know Your Meds!

Keep a list of medications for all members of your family. It’s great to have an awesome Excel spreadsheet with all necessary data, but a simple list saved in your phone is equally as good. People seldom leave home without their smartphone anymore, so a list saved within the phone is both practical and available in the event of an emergency, or a medical appointment that you didn’t have time to prepare for. Ultimately, it may become more useful than the beautiful spreadsheet in your home office!

This list should include, at a minimum, the name of the medication, the strength (dosage), and how often it is taken.

Know the indication for every medication taken.

Many medications serve multiple purposes. A drug that is used to lower blood pressure may also be used for its renal protective effects in a patient with diabetes. If your physician hasn’t told you why you’re prescribed the medicine, don’t be afraid to ask. Nobody wants their medical team to assume the indication!

Know the Goal of Therapy

By becoming aware of treatment goals, you become an active participant in the health care of yourself or those you’re caring for. Once the goals are known and understood, it will be much easier to determine when the medications should be permanently stopped, or changed, and even if they are effective.

Challenge yourself to identify at least 3 side effects of the medication to look out for.

Every medication that is consumed has some sort of side effect. It’s important to know what some of the side effects are, so that your healthcare team, which includes you, can decide if the benefits are greater than the potential risks. Simply knowing what to be watching for, and speaking up when you experience a side effect will allow conversations about how to address/minimize them happening.

Talk to your Pharmacist!

Utilize your pharmacist for the health care expert that they are. Discuss any concerns that you have regarding your medicine or your condition. Topics such as medication costs, side effects, and even pill size are frequently discussed. The pharmacist is a great resource for practical tips on how to take difficult medications or potential cost savings medication alternatives and/or programs that can assist with medication costs. In my opinion your local pharmacist is one of the most underutilized medical resources out there, they are there to help you!


If you are looking for resources to help with Medication management call my office, we have several viable optionion that can help.  

Stay cool & hydrated and don’t forget to check on your aging loved ones, neighbors and friends as the weather warms up this summer!


Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.