A pharmacist is a professional who is qualified to fill prescription medications ordered by a doctor. They often provide information on how to take medications, potential side effects, potential drug interactions and tips on taking prescription medication on schedule.

If possible, use the same pharmacy for all your medications. Get to know your pharmacist so they can help answer your questions. If you are taking multiple medications for different health problems, your pharmacist can help you understand any potential drug interactions that may be harmful or make your medication less effective.

You may also want to try your insurance company’s or pharmacy’s mail-order service. This is a service that delivers your prescription to your home. In many cases, the co-payment for your medication may even be lower than if you pick up your refill in-person at your pharmacy. This is a good option if long waits at the pharmacy keep you from refilling or picking up your medication or if your local pharmacy does not carry your prescribed medication.

Regardless of the type of medication that a doctor prescribes, pharmacists help you by:

Explaining how the medication works. Your doctor or another member of your health care team may have reviewed the ins-and-outs of the medication when you received your prescription, but hearing the information more than once is helpful—especially at what can be a stressful time.

Explaining what your insurance covers. An insurer may require that a generic (or biosimilar) version of the drug be dispensed, if one exists. Your pharmacist can help you determine if this is the case and explain any differences between the original drug and the covered drug, including any out-of-pocket cost implications.

Recommending financial resources. There are a number of financial aid organizations and patient assistance programs available to help patients with their out-of-pocket expenses. Your pharmacist can be a good source of information about these resources.