Man has been using plants, herbs and other naturally occurring ingredients for hundreds of years to manage and treat the symptoms of different illnesses. The history of pharmacy dates to Mesopotamia, when the first pharmaceutical text was written in 2100 B.C.E about boiling, infusion, and other techniques to obtain active ingredients from herbs. Galen first used compounding techniques in 130 CE to combine two or more ingredients to produce a more potent formulation. In the mid-nineteenth century, professionals started studying the effects and side effects of these ingredients, which laid the foundation of the subject of modern Pharmacy.
Who is a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are licensed healthcare professionals trained in the storage, dispensing and interaction of medications. Using their pharmaceutical knowledge, pharmacists can guide patients to maximize the drug-related benefits, minimize the risk of adverse effects, and reduce the risk of potential drug interactions.
Pharmacists complete a 4-year university degree that educates them on how the drugs work in our body. After graduation, pharmacists are required to pass board exams, followed by several weeks or months of internship to gain practical experience in order to improve the treatment outcomes in patients.
There are various types of pharmacists. The most common type is retail or community pharmacist, who works in pharmacies or hospitals and fills prescriptions issued by healthcare professionals and doctors. Likewise, a pharmacist in the research sector contributes to the development and testing of new medications.
What does a Pharmacist do?
Community pharmacists are responsible for filling prescriptions for patients outside the hospital. In addition; they can also:
- Educate patients on how to best use a medication and what side effects to watch for.
- Assess the appropriate dose for maximum therapeutic benefit.
- Analyze your medications to make sure they don't interact with other drugs/ supplements.
- Guide you on other supplements or medications you are taking for other indications.
- Train you on how to use a specific medical device or equipment (such as an insulin inhaler)
- Answer any general questions that you may have about health topics such as nutrition, diet, or exercise.
In most developed countries like Canada, pharmaceutical companies design, formulate, and manufacture the drugs and allow pharmacists to dispense the medications to the patients in the current dosages. Compounding (the practice of making customized medication by combining individual ingredients in the exact dosage as needed by the patient) is comparatively a smaller component of a community pharmacist's job. Specialized compounding pharmacies make special formulations on a smaller scale.
Reasons to Visit a Pharmacist:
Pharmacists are the most readily available trained and licensed healthcare professionals. In most cases, an appointment is not necessary. Every pharmacy in Canada has at least one licensed pharmacist on-site who can set up a one-on-one consultation with you to answer any medication-related concerns.
Some common reasons to see a pharmacist are:
Inquire about medication or health-related questions:
Pharmacists are trained professionals who can answer your questions about specific medications, their current dosing, possible side effects, drug/ food interactions and what to expect when you are on that medication.
Prescription fill or refill:
Once your doctor or healthcare provider issues you a prescription, you can take it to a pharmacy where your pharmacist can fill the prescription and explain how to take the medication, dosing frequency, or any specific instructions to minimize the risk of side effects. Go to the same pharmacy for your prescription fill or refill. They can record all your medication history and even provide you with a written summary on request about your medical/ drug history.
Safe disposal of unneeded medications:
If you don't need your prescription medication anymore, it is highly recommended to safely dispose of the remaining drug to ensure it doesn't reach the wrong hands. It is recommended to take your unwanted medications to your pharmacy where they can safely dispose of them.
Periodic health checks:
Pharmacists are trained to conduct simple procedures or basic tests such as testing your blood sugar, taking temperature, or checking blood pressure. In addition, pharmacists can also diagnose minor ailments such as rashes, cuts, flu or cold, aches etc. They can suggest a treatment option to resolve the disease or refer you to a doctor for additional workup.
Vaccinations or annual shots:
Pharmacists can administer yearly flu shots and other vaccinations (such as tetanus shots). In most cases, you do not even need an appointment.
If you are busy or unable to visit a licensed pharmacist due to any reason, check out Mednow online pharmacy for quick, fast, easy, and secure delivery of prescriptions to your door at NO-Charge in just three steps:
- Register your account at the Mednow portal from your phone
- Transfer your prescription
- Get your prescription delivered to you free of charge – we even schedule your refills so you can skip lines at the pharmacy and focus on just getting better.
If you are looking for a health consultation, request a one-on-one consultation from the comforts of your home.
Don't forget to learn about our other FREE services like:
- FREE Medication Review to make sure all your supplements, prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs are working together to boost health and wellness
- Formulation of a Supplementation plan after consultation with a nutritionist
- Smart refills and pill sorting so you get your medications in time without ever running out
- Free Consultation with a nutritionist to improve your energy levels, manage stress and achieve a healthy weight
Pharmacists are trained and licensed healthcare professionals who can educate you on your medications and answer any other health-related questions that you may have. Most pharmacies have an on-site pharmacist who can answer your diet, exercise, drugs, and health issues-related questions. If you are looking for an online pharmacy where you can request your prescription digitally, check out Mednow, where we deliver medications to your door at no charge.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Advantages of being a pharmacist
Pharmacists can help individuals achieve optimal health and wellness. They can improve the adherence to drug regimens and educate patients on how to get the most out of their drug regimen. Pharmacists are also more readily accessible to the patients and are available to answer any questions or concerns in a more time-sensitive manner.
Do pharmacists make drugs?
There are several types of pharmacists, such as ambulatory care pharmacists, retail pharmacists, compounding pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, academic pharmacists, and community pharmacists. Compounding pharmacists can make special formulations for specific patients, like making special liquids from pills. Most pharmacists today dispense the already manufactured medication from the pharmaceutical company.
Where do pharmacists work?
Pharmacists work in laboratories, pharmacies, hospitals, large-scale pharmaceutical manufacturers, government offices, universities, and clinics.
What do pharmacists do in hospitals?
Hospital pharmacists collaborate with doctors and healthcare professionals in diagnosing and prescribing medications and evaluating the effectiveness of different drugs through monitoring of patient charts.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as medical or other professional advice. A healthcare provider should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed, and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Mednow or its affiliates.Get Started