Community Pharmacy Open 24 Hours

June 16, 2016

When we talk about healthcare emergencies, the doctor is always in. Penn Highlands Healthcare Emergency Departments are open 24/7.

Now, when you have prescription needs, the pharmacist is always in. Penn Highlands Healthcare Community Pharmacy, located in the DuBois Community Medical Building, 621 S. Main St., DuBois, is now open 24/7 at its drive-thru window.

Open 365 days a year, the window will never close. “We want the Community Pharmacy to be a convenience for its customers,” Eric Wolfgang, PharmD, manager of the Community Pharmacy, said. (Walk-in hours will remain 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.)

As another convenience, the Community Pharmacy is announcing the start of its Brown Bag Days every Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. They are free to attend, and you don’t need to be a customer of this pharmacy.

“Medicine is very beneficial, but no medicine is without risk,” Wolfgang said. A person can have a side effect or an allergic reaction to a medicine. Medicines may be affected by interactions with foods, drinks or other drugs. Sometimes, you may have medications ordered by different doctors, particularly if you visit a number of specialists or use more than one pharmacy.

But there are lots of things you can do to take medications - both prescription and over-the-counter - in a safe and responsible manner.

For Brown Bag Days, bring your current medications into the pharmacy in a bag. (It doesn’t need to be brown.) Also add to it your regular over-the-counter medicines, herbal and alternative medications, as well as other vitamins and supplements. They can all affect each other.

While you are gathering the medicines, it may be a good time to double check your written list as well. Did you miss anything? You should always have a complete list for your doctor’s appointments.

When you get to Brown Bag Day, you will wait your turn for a private meeting in a consultation room with a Penn Highlands pharmacist.

Always feel free to ask any questions you may have about your medications. Write them down before you go so you remember, and be sure to write down the answers.

“Be familiar with your medications,” Wolfgang said. “Know why you are taking each medication.” Many people assume that everyone knows what the medicine is for. That is not true. Although what the drug does and what it is used for may be known by nurses, office staff and pharmacists, only the prescribing doctor and the patient know specifically why it was prescribed.

Here are a few helpful questions to ask:
• What is the medicine's name, and what is it supposed to do?
• How and when do I take it, and for how long?
• While taking this medicine, should I avoid:
o Certain foods or dietary supplements?
o Caffeine, alcohol or other beverages?
o Other medicines, prescription or over-the-counter?
o Certain activities, such as driving or smoking?
• Are there side effects? What do I do if they occur?
• Will the medicine affect my sleep or activity level?
• What should I do if I miss a dose?
• Is there written information available about the medicine?

And always ask a pharmacist's advice before crushing or splitting tablets. Some pills should only be swallowed whole.

Never guess when converting measuring units from milliliters to teaspoons, for example. Consult a reliable source, such as a pharmacist.

“These are just a few of the things we can help people with,” Wolfgang said. If you cannot stop on a Tuesday, call for an appointment at 814-375-6165.