Questions to ask about your prescriptions
The following questions will help you get the information you need when you visit your doctor and pharmacist.
Before you leave the doctor’s office with a new prescription, ask:
What is the name of the medicine and what is it supposed to do? Is there a less expensive alternative?
How and when do I take the medicine and for how long?
Whether to take it with water, food, or with a special medicine, or at the same time as other medicines.
Can it be taken with over-the-counter medicines? If so,when?
What to do if you miss or forget a dose.
Whether you take it before, during or after meals.
The timing between each dose. For example, does “four times a day” mean you have to take it in the middle of the night?
What your doctor means by “as needed.”
Are there any other special instructions to follow?
What foods, drinks, other medicines, dietary supplements or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?
Will any tests or monitoring be required while I am taking this medicine? Do I need to report back to the doctor?
What are the possible side effects and what do I do if they occur?
When should I expect the medicine to start working, and how will I know if it is working?
Will this new prescription work safely with the other prescription and over-the-counter medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
At the pharmacy, or wherever you get your medicines, ask:
Do you have a patient profile form for me to fill out? Does it include space for my over-the-counter drugs and my dietary supplements?
Is there written information about my medicine? Ask the pharmacist if it’s available in large print or in a language other than English if you need it.
What is the most important thing I should know about this medicine? Ask the pharmacist any questions that may not have been answered by your doctor.
Can I get a refill? If so, when?
How and where should I store this medicine?
Give your medicine cabinet a yearly check-up. To help you organize information about your medicines, list all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, vitamins and herbals you take. Bring this list with you when you see your doctors and any other health-care professional. It is very important that each of them knows what medicines you are taking. The list should include: the name of the medicine, the doctor who prescribed it, how much and how often to take, instructions on how to take the medicine, what it is taken for and any expected side effects.
Remember to bring all over-the-counter medicines you take as well as any dietary supplements, vitamins and herbals. It is also important to get rid of any expired medicines you may have.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 4 of “Aging Healthy: You and Your Medicines.”