Ask the Pharmacist: How to Keep Your Medications Working for You

Many Canadians live with multiple chronic illnesses and their medicine cabinets may be filling up as a result. In fact, almost two thirds of those aged 65 and over take five or more prescription drugs from different drug classes. Managing all these medications can be a real challenge and pharmacists can be an important resource to help keep Canadians on track with their medication therapy. Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacist, Dalia Salib, answers common questions about medication reviews.

Q: What is a medication review?

A: It is a personalized one-on-one meeting with a pharmacist to help you understand how to safely and effectively use your medications. During the discussion, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about your medications, gain peace-of-mind that you are taking your medications in the best way possible and better understand how each medication and how you take it contributes to your overall health. Medication reviews provide an opportunity for your pharmacist to identify potential problems and address them by recommending a change in the way the medication is taken, a dosing change, or even a change of drug.

Q: When should I consider getting a medication review?

A: Depending on the number of medications you take, it is generally recommended to have a medication review on an annual basis – similar to your annual physical with your doctor. This review can be done at any time during the year, but is especially recommended if you will be going to the hospital for a test or procedure, have recently been discharged from the hospital, have started taking a new medication or have any questions or concerns about how to take your medications. The pharmacist may be able to conduct your appointment when you are dropping off or picking up your prescription or you may book an appointment in advance.

Q: How do I get a medication review?

A: Getting a medication review is as easy as visiting your local pharmacist. Pharmacies have flexible hours, so you can arrange a suitable time for both you and the pharmacist. For more information, visit

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Adverse Drug Reaction-Related Hospitalizations Among Seniors, 2006 to 2011. Available online at: