October is Talk About Prescriptions Month and it is sponsored by The National Council on Patient Information & Education. This year’s theme is geared more toward the senior citizen community, but all of us should be asking these ten questions when getting prescriptions from our physicians.
Many times the patients do not find out all of the side effects that can possibly come from a prescription so follow these steps and know that as a patient, you have rights to find out everything you can when it comes to your health care.
Your Responsibility As A Patient –
– Educate yourself on your illness and medications so that you can ask the appropriate questions.
– Take your medicine as prescribed.
– Call your physician if any side effects occur.
– Make sure your doctor and pharmacist both have a current list of your medications on file. This way you can help prevent any medicine interactions. I keep a list on my computer, update it as necessary, and take it with me to the doctors whenever I see her.
Your list should include all medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, over-the-counter meds, ointments and creams.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor –
– What is the name of the medication (both generic and brand names)?
– What am I taking this medication for?
– Does this medication replace another medication I am currently taking or should I take it in addition to what I already take?
– How often should I take this medication (at bedtime, twice a day, as needed, etc.)?
– When should I take this medication? (for example, if Im to take it three times a day, does that mean at breakfast, lunch and dinner, or once every eight hours?)
– How long will I be taking this medication (until I feel better, until its gone, indefinitely, etc.)?
– Can I get refills? If so, how many times can it be refilled without another appointment?
– How soon should I expect to start feeling better?
– What are the possible side effects of this medication?
– What should I do if I experience any side effects?
Information Your Pharmacist Should Be Providing When Filling A Prescription –
– When and how the medication should be taken.
– Things that should be avoided while taking this medication that might cause dangerous drug interactions or severe adverse reactions (for example, other medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), supplements, foods, alcohol, activities, etc.).
– Any ingredient that might cause you to have an allergic reaction.
– Possible side effects (both common and rare).
– What to do if you forget to take a dose.
– How to store the medication.
– Expiration date.
– If its safe to use during pregnancy or while breast feeding (if applicable).