Purchasing Medications

 

Ibuprofen is s an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine that parents might give their child to relieve minor aches and pains or reduce a fever. For children, it is available in chewable tablets (100 mg each) and an oral suspension (liquid). But parents may not be aware that there are two different concentrations of the oral suspension. Ibuprofen for infants contains 50 mg per 1.25 mL (40 mg per mL) and is often called “infant drops.” This medicine is for 6- to 23-month-old babies who weigh 12 to 23 pounds (5.5 to 10.5 kilograms [kg]). Babies may not be able to swallow a large amount of medicine. So, ibuprofen for infants is more concentrated than ibuprofen for children.

People who take medicines to treat chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes, need to fill their prescriptions regularly. Many pharmacies allow people to sign up for an automatic refill service so they don't run out of their medicines because they forget to call for refills. Once you sign up for this service, all your prescriptions for ongoing medicines are automatically refilled until there are no more refills left on the prescription. Each month, the pharmacy then notifies you when they are ready to be picked up.

It should never happen, but it's not unheard of for another patient's medication to somehow slip into your bag before you pick it up at the pharmacy. Bagging errors can happen when more than one patient's medications are in the pharmacy work field at the same time, often during the prescription packaging process. Pharmacists are well aware of this and most pharmacies do require that staff work on only one patient's medications at a time. Nevertheless, since bags containing prescription medications are not routinely opened at the point-of-sale, if an error does happen it may not be captured before the patient leaves the pharmacy.

Is ordering medicines online safe for you and your family? Today, you can order just about anything online and have it delivered to your doorstep. The Internet makes it easy to shop around for the lowest priced item. So, searching for low cost medicines online is no exception. However, there are some dangers with purchasing medicines online. For example, Internet pharmacy sites that say “no prescription needed,” should not be used. Also, some medicines sold online:

If you are like most Americans, you are on a first name basis with your hairdresser, barber, maybe even your car mechanic or dry cleaner. But do you know the first name of your pharmacist? A study done by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) found that only 35% of consumers know their pharmacist's name.

The story: If you receive a medication leaflet with your prescription, do you read it? Recent studies show that 3 out of 4 people throw the medication leaflet away without ever glancing at it! But reading the leaflet can help you avoid a serious mistake. Here's just one story:

When a middle-aged man arrived at a pharmacy to pick up a refill for lactulose (a common laxative), he was told that he needed a new prescription from his doctor. There were no refills left on his previous prescription. The pharmacist suggested that the man could use KARO corn syrup as a substitute for lactulose until he visited his doctor for his next check-up.

In a poll, one out of every three people said that paying for prescriptions is a problem for their families. Of those, three out of four said they had put off filling their prescriptions or cut back the doses prescribed by their doctors because of the cost. One in ten people also admitted to buying prescription medicines illegally from a foreign country like Canada or Mexico to get a better price.

Most health plans offer mail-order prescriptions. Follow these steps to ensure that your prescriptions are filled correctly and delivered safely.

A woman went to pick up her son's prescription for Metadate ER (methylphenidate, extended release), which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The pharmacist had a hard time reading the prescription. He thought the doctor had prescribed methadone. This medicine is used for drug withdrawal, and also to lessen cancer pain.

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