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Have a question about your health?

Ask the Pharmacist

“Do I need to finish my medication if I already feel better?”

“How soon can I start exercising after having surgery?”

“Do I really need to take that pill on an empty stomach?”

Your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist is a healthcare professional with a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of health topics. If you have a question about your health or medication, chances are, your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist knows the answer.

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Note: We welcome general questions or topics which may be of interest to you, but any questions specific to your health or medications will not be answered and should be directed to your pharmacist or other healthcare professional.

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Click here to read the answer to our featured questionRead video transcript


I take several ongoing medications, and I sometimes miss a few doses. Is that a problem?

Answer from Express Scripts Canada Pharmacist, Jessica Lau:

Excellent question. Thanks!

Whether you are taking medication for diabetes, high cholesterol, depression or birth control, the answer is yes. Missing doses is a problem that we call medication non-adherence. Your doctor uses their medical expertise when prescribing the right amount of the right medicine to make sure that you get the greatest possible benefit from your treatment, and sticking to his or her instructions is very important.

Examples of non-adherence can include taking less than the prescribed dose to save money, or that you run out of pills and take a few days to get to the drug store for your refill. In some cases, it’s simple forgetfulness. Whatever the reason, the effects can be damaging to your health.

When you are taking ongoing medication for a chronic condition, you may not feel any difference right away but it’s important that you keep taking the medication your doctor prescribed.

Remember, non-adherence may be bad for your long-term health, accounting for around 5% of all hospital and doctor visits in Canada.

So what can you do about it?

  • Routine – If your problem is forgetting to take your medication at the right time, try linking it to something that you always do, like meals, brushing your teeth, etc. When you eat, you know you have to take that medication. Pill boxes are a great way to organize your medicine so you keep all your doses straight.
  • Refills and renewals – Gaps between refills are a common cause of non-adherence. Some pharmacies, like the Express Scripts Canada Pharmacy, offer to automatically send you refills before you run out, and remind you when it’s time to get a new prescription from your doctor. Take advantage of these features.
  • If your medication is too expensive and you don’t feel you can afford it, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether there is a different medication that may do the same thing but cost less. These are just a few suggestions to help you stay adherent to your medications. Ultimately, it’s important to understand that you are not in it alone and it’s ok to lean on those around you for support – including your pharmacist.
    Until next time, I’m Jessica Lau and this has been Ask the Pharmacist. I wish you good health.


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Disclaimer: The information provided is not a substitute for medical or professional advice, judgment, diagnosis or treatment or a recommendation or endorsement for any health care provider, product, procedure, service or other information that may be mentioned. Reliance on any information is solely at the user’s own risk. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. In no event will Express Scripts Canada be liable for any loss or damages of any kind resulting from user’s access to or use of the information on this web site or use of any information contained in linked web sites.
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