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Woman serving customer at a pharmacy

Pharmacies and medication

Pharmacies are located throughout the community and are a friendly and accessible first point of contact for many health needs.

At a pharmacy, you can seek advice and treatment on common concerns and injuries. A pharmacist can also let you know if you need to seek further advice from another health professional. You can also purchase a wide range of health care products, from band aids to over-the-counter medications. Importantly, pharmacists are your medications experts in the community.

Pharmacists have a degree in pharmacy which provides them with an in-depth knowledge of medicines, their uses, side effects, how they could interact with other medicines, and how to monitor their use.

How do I collect medications from a pharmacist?

If you are prescribed a medication from a general practitioner or specialist, in most cases you will take this to a pharmacist, who prepare and package this medication for you. Pharmacists will explain what your medicine is for, how it works, what to expect when taking the medication and what to look out for. This includes the dose, frequency and potential complications of your medications. They will also help ensure that the medication that you are being given is appropriate for you. If you don’t understand any aspects of your health condition your pharmacist will be well placed to help you.

Your relationship with your pharmacist is confidential so it is important to disclose all of your medications so that they are able to provide the right advice.

IMPORTANT: Read directions every time you get a medication dispensed. Make sure you understand the dose, frequency and any potential complications, and talk to your pharmacist if anything about your medicines don't seem right.

If you are having complications with your medications, ring the pharmacist that dispensed it to you and then your GP. If it's an emergency, call 111.

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Self-medication

It is important that you do NOT self medicate with medicines prescribed for other people. There is no one size fits all way of medicating and what is right for a family member may not be right for you. It is a good idea to talk to your pharmacist before taking any new medications, including those purchased over the counter.

How do I dispose of old medications and used sharps?

Maintaining a large surplus of medications in your household that you do not use often can be dangerous, especially if young children are present.

It is important for you to know that most community pharmacies offer disposal units for these as putting them in your home rubbish bin is not safe. You can go in to your community pharmacy and talk with the pharmacist on how best to dispose of these.

Sharps include needles, insulin injections or prefilled injections that have expired and are not safe to use.

Pharmacies

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Overlooking Gore Township