What to Ask the Doctor About Medications
Medications can be costly, confusing to use, and have unwanted side effects. Be sure to ask questions when medicines are prescribed and prescriptions are filled.
- Give the doctor a list of all medications and dosages that the person in your care is now taking, including eye drops, vitamins, and herbal remedies.
- Tell the doctor of any other treatments being used. Sometimes using two or more treatments may be fatal or may keep the new treatment from working.
- Tell the doctor of any allergies or if there are certain foods the person cannot eat (food allergies).
- Understand why each medication is needed and how much it will help the person's condition.
- Ask how long it takes for the drug to work.
- Find out its side effects.
- Ask if the drug could react with other drugs and what you should do if there are side effects.
- Find out if a change in diet, exercise, reducing stress, or other things can be done.
- If more than one medicine is needed, ask the doctor if they can be taken at the same times each day. If a drug must be taken at a difficult time (for instance, in the middle of the night), ask about another choice.
- Try to find the lowest cost drug. Ask if a generic (non-brand name) drug or another brand in the same drug class is available at a lower cost.
- Be sure that the generic drug will not have a poor effect on the person's condition.
- Ask if a lower dose can be prescribed without bad effects.
- To keep costs down, ask if a higher dose can be safely prescribed and the pill cut in half.
- Ask if you can buy a one-week supply of a new medication to see if the person can handle any possible side effects. Or ask if the physician has free samples to try.