Yale Health

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call the Yale Health Pharmacy at 203-432-0033 to discuss with a pharmacist.

Do I have to take my medications at the times indicated even if it means getting up in the middle of the night?

You should try to take your medication as close to the scheduled times as possible. For example, if you have a medication that should be taken every eight hours, take one in the morning when you get up, take one in the early to mid-afternoon and one before bed.  This will allow enough time between doses so that you won't have to get up during the night. If you have any questions, ask the pharmacist.

Why do I have to stay out of the sun when taking certain medications?

Some medications such as tetracycline and hydrochlorothiazide react to sunlight, especially ultraviolet rays, making you more susceptible to sunburn.  It is important that you stay out of direct sunlight when you are taking medications that cause this photosensitivity and that you wear sun block outdoors.

Do I always have to finish my medication?

You should take all medications exactly as prescribed.  If the medication is an antibiotic, it is essential that you finish it even if you start to feel better after only a couple of days.  You may feel better, however, if you do not finish the medication, some bacteria can survive and develop resistance to the medication, meaning that the next time you are infected by this organism, the medication may not clear the infection.  Other medications can sometimes be stopped before they are finished, but you should consult your clinician.

Why did the instructions say I shouldn't take my medication with dairy products or fruit juices?

Certain drugs (such as tetracycline and ciprofloxacin) bind with nutrients found in dairy products to form inactive substances. With fruit juice, the acidity of the juice may begin to break down the tablet before it has reached the site where it is meant to be absorbed. This will cause diminished effectiveness.

Grapefruit juice in particular has been found to alter the effectiveness of some medications such atorvastatin, nifedipine, and alprazolam because it inhibits the metabolism of certain chemicals. Ask your pharmacist about potential food and beverage interactions.

What if I lose my medication?

Your medication may be replaced,  but  it is not a covered benefit so you will need to pay full price.  It may also need to be reapproved by your clinician; e.g. controlled substances.

What is step therapy?

Step therapy is the recommendation of certain medications for use after a patient has attempted treatment with a preferred product, according to standards of care or institutional guidelines.

What is prior authorization for prescriptions?

Some medications require approval beyond the clinician's prescription before they can be dispensed, or in other words, require prior authorization.  These medications include many Tier 3 drugs, specialty medications and drugs that have step therapy requirements. This process ensures appropriate use of certain drugs which are approved for very specific conditions.

When prescribing any of these drugs, the clinician will be asked to submit a prior authorization form to the pharmacy, documenting the clinical need for the medication as well as other clinical criteria related to the use of the medication. This form will then be reviewed by a clinical team. The team will work with your clinician to review the request and develop the optimal therapy for you.

If the request is approved, a member of this clinical team will notify you of the approval. If the request is not approved, both you and the prescribing clinician will be notified. Denials can be appealed through the Yale Health appeal process.

How should I properly dispose of my medications?

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has provided the following advice for the disposal of medications.  The Yale Health Pharmacy cannot dispose of your medications.

Do I have to discard my medication if it is past the expiration date?

When medications reach their expiration date, the chemical begins to degrade, meaning that that the drug will not be as effective. Some medications can become dangerous after the expiration date. You should consult with your pharmacist about any medication that has expired, but it is always safest to discard expired medications.

How do I know if my drug is covered and what tier it is in?

Review the Yale Health Drug List on our web site.  The Drug List:

  • Provides access to quality medications
  • Promotes appropriate and cost-effective therapy
  • Provides clinicians with information relating to alternative therapies
  • Gives members information to help them discuss medications with their clinician