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Important Pharmacy and Prescription Drug Terms
A pharmacy is a place where those suffering from chronic or acute conditions can purchase prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Each of these establishments is overseen by a licensed pharmacist who is charged with dispensing medication as well as answering questions on dosing schedules and drug interactions. The following key terms can help you identify pharmacies for your prescription needs and understand their role in protecting your health.
Licensed Pharmacist - A professional who holds a PharmD degree and assists patients by filling prescriptions, consulting on dosing practices and guiding them toward the right medications.
Generic Drug - A drug compound that contains the same active ingredients as its brand name counterpart.
Prescriber - A primary doctor, psychiatrist, hospital physician, or veterinary technician who writes the prescription for medicine that is filled by a chemist or pharmacist. It is generally up to the prescriber to monitor the patient's progress while taking a medication and adjust dosage as needed.
Retail Drugstore - This establishment carries prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications and other household products. Some larger drugstores employ a technician 24 hours to fill medication requests any time.
Dose - The number of pills or applications of a topical treatment that are to be taken over a period of time.
Refill - The number of times a drug may be obtained from a pharmacist without visiting a patient's prescriber to obtain a new prescription. In some cases, refills may be obtained through online pharmacy services.
Hospital Pharmacy - Often employ a technician 24 hours to fulfill internal requests for medication that will be used on site. Such pharmacies may be tied to a walk-in clinic, but do not always fill prescriptions for individuals.
Prescription Medication - A drug that may only be acquired with written permission from a licensed physician.
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When you or your children get sick, take the prescription you received from the doctor’s office, or hospital and bring it to the pharmacy to be filled. Pharmacists on staff measure and dispense your prescription, and should notify you of any possible drug interactions. Pharmacies are usually located in the back of a drug store or retail department store.
Pharmacies sell over-the-counter medication in addition to prescription medication. Browse the aisles for cold medicine, separated by adult and children strength. If you need a prescription filled, head to the counter, hand it to the pharmacy tech, and wait the recommended amount time for the pharmacists to approve and fill the prescription. Adults often times get pills, while small children are prescribed liquids for easier swallowing.
Pharmacies, also called chemist’s stores, are also located within hospitals and clinics, providing a one-stop-shop for patients who need medicine fast. And these days, many drug stores are open 24 hours a day, so that you always have access to the pharmacy. This comes in handy when your child is running a high fever in the middle of the night and you realize you’ve run out of medicine.
Because you can potentially have access to a technician 24 hours a day, this provides a great convenience for you and others who may need it. Online capabilities allow patients to refill their prescriptions via the pharmacy’s website, specifying a convenient pick up time with access to a virtual technician 24 hours per day.
Pharmacy assistants can aid with dispensing medication, but only pharmacists make the final decision regarding drug dispensation and monitoring. Pharmacists are also available for consultations with concerned patients. They can also provide compounding, which involves mixing various drugs to meet the special health needs of patients. Some pharmacies are geared toward veterinary use.