Epilepsy Talk

Why Your Pharmacist is Your Best Friend | June 2, 2021

Your pharmacist is the least expensive and most accessible health resource you have. They fill prescriptions and provide expert information about medications — a very important role, considering the prominent use of seizure medications to treat epilepsy.

You can see the pharmacist anytime you want, without an appointment, and all consultations are free. In medicine, that’s extraordinary.

Plus, they have an amazing wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, which means at your fingertips. Many pharmacists also have access to new technology that can answer questions such as, “Is it safe to take this brand-new medication with this even newer medication?”

What’s more, they get a soldier’s view of patients with similar conditions, using different medications every day. They see who improves and who complains about side effects.

Plus, pharmacists can be helpful in discussing the potential adverse effects of medications, their costs, the relative risks and benefits of generic versus brand-name medications and potential interactions.

The “Four Cs” of pharmacy visits:

One way to keep your epilepsy treatment on track is to stick to the treatment plan you and your doctor agreed upon.  Check your prescription every time you pick it up at the pharmacy and think of “The Four Cs” …

1. Compare the new pill bottle label with the label on your last prescription.

2. Check that the pills look exactly the same (size, shape, color, and imprint).

3. Confirm with the pharmacist (if anything looks different) that he or she is aware of any change and has discussed it with your doctor.

4. Contact your doctor (or have your pharmacist call him or her) if your doctor did not request a change to your prescription.

Manage your prescriptions

Don’t forget to write down the names of all of your medicines and supplements, along with the dosage and who makes it. (I keep a copy on file, update it when necessary and then just make copies to bring with me.) Take this list with you to any doctor’s appointments and trips to the pharmacy.

Talk to your pharmacist about each medicine you’re picking up, why it is prescribed and how you should take it.

And build a relationship with your pharmacist just as you do with your doctor. 

Say “Yes” the next time you are asked if you want to talk to the pharmacist.

As Kristin Weitzel, PharmD, CDE, Assistant Editor for Pharmacist’s Letter says: “The key for health professionals is to focus on the needs of the patient. Pharmacists are in an ideal position to help epilepsy patients by using their clinical judgment…”

Other articles of interest:

Fewer Errors in In-Hospital Meds if Pharmacists Are Involved http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ASHP/43368?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2013-12-12&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyHeadlines&utm_source=WC&eun=g678262d0r&userid=678262&email=pfjohnson@comcast.net&mu_id=5845719

Why The Hospital Wants The Pharmacist To Be Your Coach   http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/02/20/172125025/why-the-hospital-wants-the-pharmacist-to-be-your-coach?ft=1&f=100

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  1. For the moment in Paris (France) the pharmacists aren’t doing too well. Dilantin, slow-release sodium phenytoin capsules aren’t available. I’ve been prescribed Di-Hydan, slow-release base phenytoin tablets. They could work fine or they could screw things up.

    The first four pharmacists were useless with even one insisting the Di-Hydan tablets were not slow-release. They are. I produced documentation.

    Pharmacist no. 4, Thomas listened, read what I provided, took my phone number and is researching.

    We’ll see where it leads…

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by philamisan — June 2, 2021 @ 4:06 PM

  2. Oh wow. I’m sorry you’ve had such a fiasco. Why the supply shortage? Is it nationwide? Would you do better with mail order meds?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 2, 2021 @ 4:47 PM

  3. If the price is high, call around, even different branches of the same pharmacy. The range of answers amazed me.

    My pharmacist is an independent. He and his partner know me by name and face. It’s so much better than the big box places where the people were different every time I went in AND he does not charge more. When I ask questions, there’s no sense that he’s reciting a script from management. When I’m feeling rotten, the personal touch is important.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — June 2, 2021 @ 5:38 PM

  4. I have found this one thing to be very interesting among the Drs I have seen in recent years….the best ones I have seen have had the best Physician Assistants (PAs). More recently, one I particularly loved for her knowledge of pharmaceuticals and compassion especially, moved to Paris to get married!! However, Paris does not have PAs!! So, she explained that she was going to have to take a pay cut and do what her future husband does and become a pharmaceutical rep! I wonder if that could be the problem in France?! Dilantin is also a very old drug that if taken for too long a period of time cause neuropathies and I should know because I’m a victim of that. There are much better drugs now. Maybe France and Paris needs some refresher courses too. I wish you better days!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Janet R. — June 14, 2021 @ 3:22 PM

  5. Phylis Feiner Johnson, even though the MD who prescribes a medication for conditions is the one to make the best judgement, can the input of a pharmacist help with selecting the right Epilepsy medication for people with that condition?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by ragnarsbhut — July 28, 2021 @ 11:57 PM

  6. Definitely. He’s on the front lines of the med field, sees how it affects different people and can often tell — by your past — if a drug is a conflict to your regimen.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 29, 2021 @ 9:19 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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