Pharmacy - why do they...?

Ask questions about medication when you collect a prescription?

Just wondering as mine never have before but yesterday they asked me how often I took my antihistamine, did I take my preventer everyday, how often did I take my reliever and I wasn't sure why they were asking. Also there wasn't anyone else waiting at that time, but sometimes there's quite a queue and I don't like the idea of them letting everyone in the queue know what medication someone's on - mine is nothing delicate but I don't necessarily want lots of strangers to hear.

Ironically I said I only used my ventolin a couple of times a week, which has usually been true for the past few months, but I was starting to feel quite chesty at the time and have needed ventolin every few hours overnight!

15 Replies

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  • Hi, I was asked similar questions a few weeks ago by the pharmacy, and they said that it was new requirements to ask regular 'customers' to make sure that we are ok, and I have noticed that they had signs about asthma and breathing problems. Didn't pay much attention at the time, and they haven't asked again since, so they may not ask again for a while. I wonder how many others have been asked and if it's just for asthma/breathing?

  • Hi spooky!

    I've been asked about new and existing meds recently.

    Last week it was about my steroids as the gp had given me my maintenance dose of 10mg and then a rescue pack at 40mg dose. I wasn't too comfortable having to explain this infront of a chemists full of strangers....

  • In our area the PCT have changed one of their policies recently and chemist has to ask questions when new meds issued.

  • I've been asked questions I wondered why they were asking questions, now I have an idea.

  • Yeah I've had this, more than once as I'm there so often and they know me! I wish they'd be a little more discreet about it too as like you say it's not massively embarrassing but still private really. I find they do like to keep an eye on me and when I first got my Symbicort the pharmacist said 'another new one then?' and insisted on doing a review and going over everything to see if I knew what it was doing, how to take it etc which I guess makes sense - that was in a private room though, the other questions are mostly out in the open.

    She asked me how often I take my reliever - lol, she wasn't at all happy with the answer, but had she not noticed I refill my Atrovent prescription every 3 weeks? Periodically when they ask me that sort of thing I nearly end up being sent to my GP and I have to persuade them that both my GP and consultant know how much I take and are working on it - there's no point wasting my GP's time atm telling him I take reliever more than 4 times a day, that's why he referred me!

    Spookymilo, hope your lungs start behaving soon.

  • Yeah I've had this, more than once as I'm there so often and they know me!

    You should try buying some chocolate there and see if they ask you if you know how to take it. :D

  • It's new scheme for the pharmacists.... All patients are to be informed of aim of medication , benefits and most important side effects of drugs .... And review of current medication ... To relieve some of the burden from gp ... More likely to reduce lawsuits over side effects of medications..

  • get someone else to collect your meds for you LOL

    My brother often collects mine and my mum's (diabetic) meds - if the person doing the collecting isn't the patient they can't ask ""do you know what it's for / how to take it?"" etc

  • At my local pharmacy you don't get away with it, I picked my mums meds up for her on Friday and because they had discontinued one of her meds had to get another prescription from the GP and then got the lecture about side effects etc to repeat to my mother.

  • Thanks for the replies everyone, I just like to know why things are happening. Hopefully they won't need to ask again for a while. I guess asking those kind of questions could help if someone's asthma wasn't controlled and they didn't realise, as not everyone knows that if you are needing reliever every day you ought to see nurse or GP etc.

    Thanks Philomela, chest a bit better today, think it is hayfever related as the pollen count is high here now. Other hayfever symptoms are annoying but I can still breathe so can't really complain.

  • Ive never been asked those sort of in depth question, when a new pharacist comes in they ask me 'have u taken this medication before' to which i chuckle and say er YES lol...now a days though i just get the pharmacist apologising to me saying 'sorry, i owe you again' blinking good job i dont leave things till last minute hey!! Xx

  • Same here Charlie_warlie. I recently had first meds review which was a more a chat than any new info for me apart from a few examples of problems some people have and alternative suggestions. Good question spookymilo, as others have said it's an opportunity to discuss medication side-effects and interactions, inhaler technique, form e.g. MDI vs accuhaler etc.

    There are two schemes with a qualified pharmacist as part of local NHS pharmacy contracts. The New Medicine Service (NMS) started last October for people with long term conditions such as asthma/COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure and on anticoagulants. The Medicines Use Review (MUR) with your regular (i.e. minimum of 3 months) pharmacist is for people on multiple or high risk medicines, particularly for long term conditions to check adherence and aim to reduce wastage. For more information see here npa.co.uk/AYP/Getting-the-m... from the National Pharmacy Association or nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSs... from NHS Choices.

    Most pharmacies do have private consulting rooms though so these should not be done in front of the rest of the queue.

  • I'm pitching in on this one late but in response to TJ quote below

    There are two schemes with a qualified pharmacist as part of local NHS pharmacy contracts. The New Medicine Service (NMS) started last October for people with long term conditions such as asthma/COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure and on anticoagulants. The Medicines Use Review (MUR) with your regular (i.e. minimum of 3 months) pharmacist is for people on multiple or high risk medicines, particularly for long term conditions to check adherence and aim to reduce wastage. For more information see here npa.co.uk/AYP/Getting-the-m... from the National Pharmacy Association or nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSs... from NHS Choices.

    I always had to get my prescription from a supermarket pharmacy mainly because I worked in the store so it saved me the drop script of at gp to be authorised then take to a pharmacy to dispense ect they did It all for me I ticked the box and popped it in the box. Last time I picked it up from there was just after id left to start another job the pharmacist (known to me well) took me off into the little room (TJ mentioned this) and I had an MUR it's fairly useful I was annoyed at the time because I was in a rush but but they have the potential to be very useful to both patient Nhs ect we chatted about how long since I past saw dr or was in clinic last time I used each med how often last time I had an attack last time I went to costa And things like this he said he knew I was well informed but encouraged me to ask if I ever needed any advice no matter how big or small :) he also said if I was ever to close to running out they could do any emergency prescription on anything I'd had in last three months ( as long as it was within the rules !!) we also talked about lifestyle and how new job benefited my health ect but I no this part was only because of who I was if that makes sense . Generally I like the MUR idea but I wouldn't if I was standin talking for everyone to hear ect. X

  • lol Ratty! I'm really tempted now, but they don't sell proper chocolate in Boots... I need to work on getting it on prescription, then I can have a nice chat with the pharmacist about chocolate recipes. That I don't mind sharing with the rest of the queue. :D

    Have to say anyone standing behind me must know I have something chronic going on without any discussion of medications. Yesterday all I had to do was turn up and stand there for a minute - I didn't say a word - and the pharmacist saw me and called out 'I'll have yours ready in a minute Ms. A.'

  • I'm often surprised mine don't recognise me as I'm quite regularly in there, less so recently but last year was often in there about once a week. I certainly recognise the two or three main staff who work in the evenings when I usually go in.

    I think if it's going to be a useful service they need to think about the way they put it across to you, as just randomly asking questions when you are picking up a prescription without any explanation or privacy isn't likely to be very helpful. If they explained the services they offer and asked you to have a word with the pharmacist in the consultation room or make an appointment that might be more useful. Often if I'm put on the spot I don't even give the right answer to the questions, hence me telling them I was fine when I was actually not feeling great at that moment. If I had been able to have a proper discussion with the pharmacist it's possible they might have actually been some help, since I'm still not completely happy with the control I have, mainly of my allergies which then feeds into my asthma, and my GP just says that if you have hayfever it's something you have to put up with.

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