Ask the Expert: How Should I Choose Medication at the Pharmacy?


When I go to a pharmacy I get really confused sometimes. There are so many types of medication available to treat various ailments and symptoms. How do I know which to get?


Some drugs need a doctor’s prescription, others are available over-the-counter.

Although medication can help to relieve ailments and improve our health, they can also jeopardise our health if they are not used properly. To help you get the best out of your medication, talk to your local pharmacist.

Source: Only Health
Source: Only Health

Your pharmacist can help you with the following issues:

  • Informing you on the name of the medication and what it does
  • The strength and dosage of medication
    Always follow the recommended dosage. More is not necessarily better. At times, taking too much can be lethal. On the other hand, taking too little may delay recovery
  • When to take the medication.
    Knowing the right time, frequency and how long to continue taking the medication is important. Stopping medication too soon can harm your health instead of improving it, especially if you are taking antibiotics
  • Instructions on how to take the medication, such as before a meal or after a meal
  • What to do if you miss a dosage
  • What to do if you experience some allergic reaction
  • Possible side effects or long-term effects and how to counter them
  • Avoiding unwanted interactions.
    Certain food, drink, herbal supplements and drugs may interact adversely with the medication
  • Checking to see if medication is safe to be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding; and
  • How to store medication so that it remains in good order and is effective.

If you have any issues on compliance, such as forgetting when to take medication or taking the wrong dosage due to complicated instructions, do pop by your local pharmacy and consult your pharmacist.


Ask the Expert is where we answer questions on all aspects of your health and wellness. Send in your health-related questions to


This answer was contributed by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, the national association for pharmacists in Malaysia.

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