632 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Why Does The Pharmacist Ask Me A Lot Of Questions?
The products sold in a pharmacy can make you feel better, but if they’re taken incorrectly some can be extremely harmful. Pharmacists and their staff have the product knowledge and skills to make sure you buy the medicines that are right for you – but to give you the best advice they may need some extra information.
The questions you may be asked are used to find out what product best suits your needs from the huge range at the pharmacist’s disposal and to ensure that you don’t take something that could actually cause you harm.
Who is the medicine for?
The pharmacist will need to know if the medicine is for someone who is under 12, pregnant, breast feeding or elderly because they are highly likely to have particular requirements – for example, many medicines aren’t suitable for the under-12s, and some have ingredients that could harm an unborn child or small baby. The elderly are very likely to be taking more than one medicine and some medicines can’t be taken together.
What are the symptoms?
Some more serious conditions can be hidden by symptoms that appear to be for less serious problems. For example meningitis, malaria and some other conditions have similar symptoms to ‘flu, but they can be fatal if they’re not identified early enough.
How long have you had these symptoms?
Usually minor symptoms clear up within a couple of days but if they last longer, keep coming back or, if they seem unusually severe it could be a sign of something more seriously wrong. Your pharmacist will be able to advise you if you need to see your GP or another healthcare professional.
What action has already been taken?
You may already have tried a remedy or seen your GP, and may not have had any relief. The pharmacist will need to find out what you have tried, and what advice you have already been given, if any. They don't want to offer the same product if it has not worked in the first place.
Are you taking any other medication for this or any other reasons?
If you are taking medicines long term, for example to keep your blood pressure down or to ease arthritis pain, it’s easy to forget about it when you’re looking for something to relieve your cold. But it could be important – for example, some medicines for depression can react with decongestants. Other people with stomach ulcers can do a lot more damage if they take something that contains aspirin.
Requests for medicines by name
If you ask for a medicine by name, perhaps because you’ve used it before, the pharmacist or a counter assistant may still ask you some questions or give you advice proactively. This may be because a medicine can do some damage if you take it constantly or too often. Alternatively, they may be able to suggest something that might be more effective