Oct. 21 is National Check Your Meds Day. Find a participating pharmacy and then follow these simple steps:
- Gather all the prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Take them to the pharmacy.
- Meet with your pharmacist for a free consultation.
Pharmacists can help you organize the list of prescriptions you’re taking to have for reference, identify potentially harmful interactions, remove drugs that have expired and answer any questions you may have.
Why Is This Important?
Over one million people visited the emergency room in 2014 due to a medication-related side effect, overdose or interaction, and about 124,000 died from those events. Additionally, it is estimated that about $200 billion is spent annually on the unnecessary or improper use of medication. Surveys done by Consumer Reports have found that high drug costs can strain household budgets, causing people to cut back on necessities like groceries and bills, in order to afford costly medications. Our nation’s harmful and pricey pill habit comes in many forms: taking too many drugs, taking drugs that aren’t necessary, and taking drugs prematurely for ‘predisease’ diagnoses.
When you consult a pharmacist, they may:
- Observe doses that are too high
- Take note of combinations that may cause adverse interactions
- Let you know if any medications you’re taking are worth reconsidering based on your current situation (which can save you money!)
- Recommend items you can talk to your doctor about, such as lowering or stopping a medication
Pharmacies that usually participate in this event include: Target, CVS, Costco, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, many independent pharmacies and more!
If you’re interested in cutting back on unnecessary meds, here are a few tips:
- Never reduce or stop taking a prescription before discussing it with your doctor first.
- Get an extensive review of the medications you’re taking from your doctor or pharmacist at least once a year.
- Provide all your health care providers (and a family member) with a current list of the medications and supplements you’re taking.
- Try nondrug options for common ailments first.
“Stay Healthy and Participate in Check Your Meds Day,” NCPA Innovation Center, NCPA.co, accessed Aug. 31.
“Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair With Prescription Medication,” Teresa Carr, consumerreports.org, Aug. 3, 2017.