How to give great customer service: The L.A.S.T. method
How to Get the Best Service at Your Pharmacy
When buying medication, it is important to consult with your pharmacist to ensure you purchase the correct medication and are able to use it safely. While basic rules for getting a good service apply (namely being polite with the salesperson), there some additional ways to ensure you get the best (and safest) of service when at the pharmacy. This applies to both over-the-counter drugs, which anyone can freely buy without consulting a doctor (e.g. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Coldrex), and prescription medications, which can't be bought without a prescription (e.g. Diazepam and barbiturates). Preparing to visit the pharmacy can you make your visit much quicker and more productive.
Preparing to Go to the Pharmacy
Make a list of all the medications, vitamins and supplements you are taking, no matter how harmless it may be.This applies to birth control pills as well. Bring the list with you to the pharmacy.
- Remember to list things you may be taking that you do not normally consider to be medication, like ginseng or St. John’s Wort.
Create a list of your food and drug allergies, and any medical conditions you have.Bring the list with you, then show it to the pharmacist before purchasing new medications.
- Mention any food allergies you might have, especially if you are lactose intolerant.
- Bring up an live and renal conditions.
- Some mild antibiotics are OTC(over-the-counter). When buying any of these, it is very important to inform the pharmacist if you have a history of hypersensitivity or abnormal reactions toanyantibiotic.
- Inform the pharmacist about the age of anyone else you for whom you are buying medication.
Know the generic name and active ingredients of the drugs you often use.For example, a drug with a generic name "acetylsalicylic acid" may be sold under the brands Aspirin, Asperan, Acetisal, or many more.
- The best way to do this is to write down the generic name on a note card as many medications have very similar names. This will ensure that you do not take the wrong medication.
- Learn the "active ingredient" of your preferred medications and add them to your list as well.
- Coming to the pharmacy with this information in advance will save you time there. Take a few minutes at home to write it down.
Interacting with Your Pharmacist
Show your information to the pharmacist.After taking the time to compile the information in part one, make sure that you bring it to the pharmacy and show the pharmacist.
- Tell your pharmacist if you have are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- Your pharmacist may also want to see your insurance information. Have it ready to go.
- Your pharmacist will need to know your information up front, so make sure you do this first!
Ask about generics.Many medications have generic versions, medicines that do not have the brand name, that are cheaper and just as effective.
- By mentioning the generic name of a drug, you will help the pharmacist suggest a proper substitute.
- If the pharmacist offers a specific medication for your condition, ask for alternatives with the same active ingredient. Often there are cheaper substitutes for expensive drugs, their only downside being their less famous manufacturer.
Check the medication’s label and verify the dosage.First, ensure you have the medication you expect. When buying prescription drugs, ask the pharmacist to write the appropriate dosage for each of them on the package. This way the pharmacist will be able to correct any possible mistakes on the prescription. This will also keep you from overdosing on a potentially dangerous or lethal drug you may have mistaken for harmless.
- Confirm that you understand what “as directed” means, if you medication instructs you to use it “only as directed.” If you aren’t sure, ask the pharmacist.
- Each drug has a maximum daily dose, indicated in the patient leaflet.
- Never change (increase or decrease) the dose prescribed by your doctor or your pharmacist.
Ask questions about your medication.Your pharmacist can answer a variety of questions about what to take, and how to take it. Many pharmacies have a special area set aside for talking with the pharmacist. Use this area to speak with the pharmacist without interruption.Pharmacists are well trained to interact with their customers, and spend considerable time during the schooling on the topic. Take advantage of their expertise.Consider some of the following questions:
- Are any interactions between the medicines I am currently taking and the one I am buying.
- Does my medication need to be stored in a special way or place?
- What are the potential side effects of the medication? What can I do to avoid them?
- Should I take my medication with food? Liquids?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Ask the pharmacist to double-count your medications, particularly if the medications were packed by another company or by a filling facility. Shortages are quite common.
- Give your pharmacist feedback on any new drug you have been taking. It will help them in their job.
- Before purchasing a new drug, or a substitute you haven't used before, make sure to read and understand the patient leaflet enclosed for you..
- Make a quick calculation of how long the prescription you just bought will last, and ask your local pharmacist to order a supply of the drug three days earlier. This will save a lot of frustration, because some prescription medications are not in a great demand, and your local pharmacy might not keep it in large stocks. Ordering your prescriptions in advance can save you time.
- Never give or recommend the medications prescribed to you to anyone else, even if their symptoms are exactly like yours.
- Never give medications intended for adult use to children.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist before stopping any medication.
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