Speak up: 6 questions Medicare members should ask their pharmacist

A man talks to a pharmacist on his phone from his kitchen.

As you get older, managing your health and medications can be more challenging than ever. You might be dealing with more chronic conditions, and taking more prescriptions as a result. The side effects and interactions of certain medications could also impact you differently. Even your drug coverage may change once you’re enrolled in Medicare.

The key to overcoming these challenges is having the right support group to lean on. Friends, neighbors, family members, doctors — and even your pharmacist — can be great resources.

At Express Scripts® Pharmacy, our pharmacists are available 24/7 to provide the information you need, answer your questions, and help you make the right decisions.

Here are six questions you should consider asking your pharmacist to ensure you’re staying on top of your health.

1. Should my dosage change as I get older?

Medications don’t affect everyone in exactly the same way. Many factors can impact their effectiveness, especially age. Your body may not respond to medications in the way it did when you were younger. Becoming more or less sensitive to something you’ve been taking for years is very common.

Ask your pharmacist for their advice on the dosage on your prescriptions to account for any change in effectiveness. Your pharmacist can even work with your doctor to increase or decrease a dosage so it continues to work well for you.

2. Is there a way to make taking my medication easier?

We want to make sure taking your medication is as simple and stress-free as possible. Sometimes that means adjusting the little things that turn into big annoyances. If you have trouble reading small print, Express Scripts® Pharmacy offers large-type labels on pill bottles. We can even provide labels that “talk” or labels in braille for anyone who is visually impaired.

If you have difficulty opening pill bottles, we can provide versions with easy-to-open lids. Be sure to ask your pharmacist what additional accommodations they provide to ensure you can take your medication comfortably.

3. Could this medication impact my daily activities?

Some medications can have a different or greater effect on your body as you get older; for instance, they may begin to make you feel dizzy or drowsy. Other side effects can make you unsteady on your feet or more likely to have an accident. This may prevent you from driving or doing other activities after taking your medications.

Ask your pharmacist if this is a possibility for anything you’re prescribed. They can also give you home safety tips to avoid an accident.

4. Are there more-affordable treatment options?

Twenty-five percent of Americans over 50 report the cost of medications can be a financial burden. But it doesn’t always have to be. Your pharmacist can help you find more cost-effective alternatives for your budget, including generic versions of name-brand medications.

The list of medications covered by your Medicare plan can also change year over year, and your pharmacist can alert you if something is no longer covered.

If you’re taking a medication regularly, you might be able to save money by asking your doctor to prescribe a 90-day supply and having it delivered by Express Scripts® Pharmacy.

5. Is this a symptom or a side effect?

Monitoring all your medications for adverse interactions is important, but it’s especially important as you get older and are more likely to be taking multiple medications. With more medications, older adults are more affected by drug-disease interactions.

This happens when a side effect of one medication is misinterpreted as a sign or symptom of a new condition, rather than a drug effect. Not being able to tell the difference can lead to overprescribing, which could snowball over time.

It’s a good idea to speak to your pharmacist about each medication you are taking and their possible side effects or interactions. Many people check in with their pharmacist at the beginning of each year to look at all their medications together. This is a good habit to start now.

6. What vaccinations are important for older adults?

As you age, your immune system becomes more vulnerable, which puts you at a higher risk for certain diseases. Illnesses such as COVID-19, influenza, and shingles can have a significant impact on the health of older adults. Talk to your pharmacist about which vaccines are most critical for you, along with any other preventive health measures they recommend.

Get your questions answered

Monitoring your health becomes more important and more necessary as you get older. Pharmacists can help play a key role. Talking to them regularly can help solve issues before they become more serious.

At Express Scripts® Pharmacy, our pharmacists are always available to help. Call us 24/7, whenever you want, and talk to us for as long as you need to get your questions answered.

Posted date: January 18, 2023

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