Most Americans take some kind of daily medication. It’s not unusual to go to the doctor’s office complaining of an ailment and walk out with a prescription for a drug you’re not familiar with. Before your next trip to the doctor, make sure you know the most important questions to ask before starting a new medication.
Why Ask Questions?
An informed patient who is involved in their care plan is less likely to experience an adverse reaction from a new medication. Even a long-term physician may not be completely familiar with your medical history, family history, allergies, and other concerns.
By asking questions, you are being an active participant and making sure your doctor has considered your medical history before writing the prescription.
What Questions Should I Ask?
The following are a few common questions you should ask your medical provider before starting a new medication.
What is the name of the medication? It’s important to know both the name the pharmacy will use and the more common name most people would recognize. In some cases, you may find that the brand-name medication is the same as a generic drug you previously had an adverse reaction to.
What will the medication do? Before starting a new prescription, make sure you understand why you’re taking it. You might even ask your doctor how specifically the drug will affect your body.
What side effects could there be? This is one of the most important things to know before taking any medication. Your doctor may be reluctant to state what side effects might be, but it’s important for you to know at the outset so you can tell the difference between an adverse reaction and unrelated health concerns.
What food, drinks, or activities should I avoid while taking this medication? Some medications are not meant to be taken with certain food and drinks. Before starting a new medication, find out if the drug comes with any dietary restrictions and then find out how it should be taken. Your pharmacist should tell you if you should be drinking more water or taking your medication with food.
Is this medication safe to take with my other medications? Your doctor may not know every medication you’re taking, especially if the other medication was prescribed by a different healthcare provider. Make sure to let your doctor know what medications you’re taking before accepting the new prescription. In some cases, the drugs can react to each other and have unexpected side effects.
By asking these critical questions before taking a new medication, you’re setting yourself up to not only overcome the ailment or pain you need the new medication for, but you’re keeping your body protected against adverse effects from the new medication.
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