Realizing the importance your medication plays in your treatment will help you get the most benefit from your prescription. It is important to take an active role in your health care by being a participating member of your own healthcare team. Work with your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist to learn as much as possible about your prescription.
Here are some questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist when you are prescribed a new medication, and suggestions on how to safely manage medications at home.
1. Ask for the name of the medicine, including generic and brand name. This can help avoid prescription mistakes. When your doctor prescribes you a new medication, disclose the names of all the medicines you are currently taking, including all supplements, over-the-counter and prescription medications. State any allergies to any medication.
2. Ask for indications, exactly what is this medication prescribed for.
3. Ask for possible side effects and what to do in case of an adverse reaction.
4. Ask for dose and frequency to be taken.
5. How is the medication to be taken? The most common routes for medication’s administration are orally or by mouth, injection; or topically or locally applied such as creams or eye drops.
6. Are there special instructions while taking this medication such as foods, use of alcohol, other medicines; or activities you should avoid while taking this medicine? Ask about any specifics such as take with food, take on an empty stomach, do not crush or activities to avoid such as driving, use of machinery, swimming or exposure to sunlight.
Is there any written information you can take home? Most pharmacies have information sheets that you can use as an at-home reference.
If a doctor is prescribing a medication that is to be taken multiple times a day ask if it can be substituted for a prescription that is equally as effective but given only once or twice a day, thus reducing the chance of forgetting to take the medication and even be more cost effective.