Safoocat via Flickr

Safoocat via Flickr

Your new prescription is sitting on your kitchen countertop right now. You know you should use it.

Why would you have bothered to go through the trouble of standing in line at the pharmacy if you had no intention of taking the medicine right?


Yet questions linger;

“What does one pill twice daily mean?”

“Can I take 2 pills at once?”

“What is a safe interval between the two doses?”

“What are the side effects of this medication?”

These are valid questions. The smart thing would be to bring up those questions with your doctor- so you would think.

May I let you in on a little secret? Your doctor may no longer  be the authority on medications.

Back in the day when attractive pharmaceutical reps thronged the halls of medical clinics, doctors had access to samples of brand-name medications along with the literature on how the medications worked and their side effect profile.

We were regularly treated to “lunch and learn” seminars where we got schooled on medications in between mouthful of delicious food.

All was good until the recent cutbacks in the direct selling of pharmaceuticals and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) mandate about disclosure of side effects when advertising drugs.

Right now if a doctor accepts a gift valued at $20 or more from a drug company, his or her name has to be published online for all to see.

We doctors certainly miss the free lunches and dinners and all the swag that came with it but in the long run I think we all would benefit from lower health care costs from these cutbacks.

Back to the topic of the day;

Who then should you approach for answers to the questions you have regarding your medications?

Another white-coated healthcare professional- your friendly neighborhood pharmacist. They are the real expert on medication dosing and side effect profiles.

Pharmacists are an under-utilized resource for your medication related questions, put them to work for you.

About the author

Avatar photo

Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.


  • Won’t say nothing about the lack of swag – we in the news biz called that a potential conflict of interest. Although, it’s a serious bummer that the physicians aren’t getting the immediate education on the various drugs out there. As someone who is fairly sensitive to side effects, it would be nice if my doctor knew more about the alternatives to various meds.

    But I’ve always talked to my pharmacist about my drugs. It just makes sense.

    • Talk about conflict of interest! Doctors were walking billboards for big Pharma back then.

      Good to know that you are already making use of pharmacist for medication questions. More people should be doing this.

Leave a Comment