Pharmacists help patients get the most out of medicines

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Pharmacists do much more than just put medicines in a bottle. They are experts on benefits, side effects, warnings and interactions of medicines. Discussing medicines with a pharmacist is important for good health.

Not everyone knows, for example, that an instruction such as "three times daily" usually means to take the prescription approximately every eight hours. Talk to a pharmacist about daily schedules, including the times of day patients should eat, go to bed or take other medicines.

Pharmacists know about interactions or dietary supplements that can affect how medicines work. Some interactions can be dangerous. When picking up a new medicine, patients should ask if it will work safely with other prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, including any herbal products they may be using as well.

October was American Pharmacists Month. For Air Force pharmacists and technicians, it was a time to celebrate the work that they do on American soil as well as abroad in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently a member of the 42nd Medical Group is deployed to Qatar Air Base Hospital where he, as well as other Air Force pharmacists and technicians, perform tasks outside traditional pharmacy roles.

Air Force technicians are the backbone of our pharmacy operations as they provide crucial support to our overall operations. The Maxwell Air Force Base pharmacy prides itself with continuous delivery of excellent patient care at the Maxwell clinic as well as Gunter Annex. The clinic recently underwent major process improvements with additional Pharmacy Automated Equipment as well as several process changes to ensure patient safety. Patient safety is No. 1 on its list of priorities as it continuously searches for better ways to provide the best service possible.

The pharmacy hosts a booth at the upcoming Retiree Appreciation Day on Nov. 14. A pharmacist and technician will be available for personal consultations to ensure that individuals are not using or storing expired medications and are not taking medications that, when taken together, could cause unwanted side effects. Attendees should feel free to gather any medications they are taking and bring them in for review. The pharmacists want everyone to know that they are always available to provide advice about medications.

The pharmacy appreciates all the help that it receives from volunteers. Currently, it is in need of additional volunteers. For more information, call 953-6868.