My pharmacy suggested a medication review appointment Why? Is this different from when I pick up my prescription?

December 1, 2015

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, taking medications is serious business! It’s important to be aware of how to take drugs correctly avoiding unwanted drug interactions and/or side-effects. So, we suggest that you take advantage of the opportunity to have a medication review with your pharmacist – it complements the advice you receive when you pick up your prescription.

When a pharmacist dispenses a prescription, the counseling you receive is relatively brief and much more focused on the specific product. Above all, the pharmacist is checking to make sure the drug prescribed doesn’t interact with any other drugs you are taking or conflict with other medical conditions for which you are being treated. 

In a medication review, the pharmacist will set aside a block of time to sit with you and comprehensively review all the drugs you are taking. You’ll talk about:

  • Whether all the drugs you are taking have a purpose. Sometimes a medication is no longer needed but a patient may inadvertently continue to take it.
  • Whether all your diagnosed conditions are being managed. Maybe you have a medical condition for which you’re not receiving treatment but should be.
  • Whether your drugs are working as intended and whether you’re on the most appropriate dose.
  • Any side-effects that you’re experiencing and how to manage/avoid them.
  • Your level of understanding for each of the medications to make sure you’re taking them correctly and achieving the desired effect.

At a medication review, the pharmacist will help you create a medication list and discuss how to best manage your drug therapy. And you can book follow-up appointments if you need them, for example, if your medication changes. Anyone taking multiple medications for a chronic condition should have at least one medication review every year.

Depending on the condition being treated, your pharmacist may also offer disease management (e.g., the GSC Pharmacist Health Coaching – Cardiovascular Program) to help you monitor your disease and make sure it’s under control. And they will work with your doctor to adjust your medications when necessary.

Medication reviews are covered by most provincial health care plans, so ask your pharmacist to check your eligibility. If you’re not eligible, do the smart thing and pay the fee yourself – it’s not expensive and it’s totally worthwhile. Your pharmacist is a great source of drug-related information, it only makes sense to tap into the resources available to you.

And don’t forget that if you need help remembering to take your medications, you can set up Stick2It reminders on GSC’s Change4Life™ health portal. It’s easy to register and use – just log in to Plan Member Online Services via greenshield.ca.