Whose Advice To Take: The Doctor Or The Pharmacist?

Whose Advice To Take: The Doctor Or The Pharmacist?

If you are feeling sick, should you run to a doctor or pharmacist for advice? Well, some Australians run to their nearest pharmacy for advice and over-the-counter prescriptions. But is this the best way to go about it? The answer is often NO.

When you feel something is not okay with your body, a pharmacist may not always be able to help you. Pharmacists are more specialized in understanding how drugs work and how they affect the user. But they are not trained to diagnose the medical problem or even recommend medication. That’s the work of a doctor.

doctor and patient during consultation

This is a chance that you might end up taking the wrong medication if you get a diagnosis from a pharmacist. That’s why you should, for complicated concerns, see your doctor first. If you feel that it could be a serious problem visit your doctor immediately. These are the health professionals who are trained to study our bodies and issues concerning them.

Doctors are trained to look at the symptom during the examination and identify the problem. They can also interpret lab reports to tell what’s ailing you. Is it a bacterial or viral illness? Do you need an x-ray? What is likely causing your pain? Doctors will often prescribe medication for you to collect from a pharmacist or chemist.

Once you get a prescription from your doctor, it is the pharmacist who interprets and prescribes the drug. They will guide you on how you should take the medication. If drugs require that you take them after a meal, they will let you know. They have the knowledge on which drugs can work together and one that interacts. Note that drug interactions can cause severe medical conditions, such as stroke. A doctor may not have this knowledge because they aren’t specialised in drugs the same way that pharmacists are.

Doctor writing a prescription

So, for serious health concerns you may need both the doctor and the chemist to help you with successful treatment. It’s always recommended that you always start with a doctor first however for correct diagnosis. They will examine you to identify the problem, the cause and recommend the correct medication for the condition.

Don’t run to the chemist first, unless it’s a common issue you’ve had before or if a doctor is not available. In such serious cases, a chemist might help treat the symptom before seeing the doctor for proper diagnosis. We share the differences between a chemist and a pharmacist in our previous post.

It is always important to know what kind of doctor, pharmacist, or chemist you are dealing with as well. Like in all other professions, some people are good at what they do, and some are worse. This happens in the medical field as well.

pharmacist explaning to a woman

Not all pharmacists or doctors are good at their job. That’s why cases of misdiagnosis and inappropriate drug therapy are rampant in Australia. You should find someone that’s reliable, trustworthy and explain things to you in a way you understand. Getting referrals from friends and family is usually a good idea. Go for an experienced, reputable doctor and pharmacist/chemist like our experienced staff at Think Pharmacy and be assured that the medical advice given for your case can be trusted.