A few weeks ago, one of my patients asked me a question about his prescriptions. He said he got an extra month’s supply of one particular drug and he didn’t know what to do with it. When I asked him how he got an extra supply, he told me he had prescriptions for the same drug at two different pharmacies. Overall, this wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. But I did advise him as to why you should keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy.
A matter of convenience
Why drive to multiply pharmacies for your prescriptions when you can have the convenience of one stop shopping? And if you take several medications on a regular basis, they will be much easier to manage if you keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy.
Drug and disease interactions
If you have several prescriptions at different pharmacies, you increase the odds of accidentally taking a medication you should not be on in the first place. Certain drugs like Coumadin have multiple drug interactions. People with liver disease should avoid drugs metabolized by the liver. If one pharmacist doesn’t know what the other is dispensing, how can he catch these mistakes? If you keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy, the pharmacist can identify negative interactions and speak with your doctor before serious harm is done.
Get to know your pharmacist
You have a primary care doctor you trust with your health care concerns, right? The same should apply to your pharmacist. When you keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy, you have the opportunity to get to know your pharmacist better. And people who know the name of their pharmacist are more likely to ask questions about their medications. Take the following scenario: Your doctor prescribed a drug you do not feel comfortable taking. Maybe you are concerned about the side effects. If you speak with your pharmacist, he can answer your questions and address your concerns. He may even offer to speak with your doctor about substituting a prescribed drug if he feels there may be a problem.
When extra supplies can be lethal
There are instances when having an extra month’s or week’s supply of your medication could create a potentially deadly situation. Let’s say the medication in question is an anti-depressant. What if you or someone else in your home becomes depressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts? Now that person has access to a potential means for committing suicide. True, this could happen even if you only had a one month’s supply of anti-depressants in your home. But why create an even more lethal situation? You are less likely to have an extra supply of medications if you keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy.
Drugs.com, Coumadin (warfarin) drug interactions
Michelle Fritts, October is American Pharmacist Month: Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine, Pharmacist.com, October 1, 2012
Jorge L. Herrera, MD, FACG, Medications and the liver , American College of Gastroenterology website, updated December 2012
Melinda Smith, M.A., Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson, Suicide Prevention: How to help someone who is suicidal, HelpGuide.org, updated May 2013