15 Questions You Need to Ask Your Doctor Before Filling That Prescription
While some doctors have all the right intentions when it comes to giving you the best care, many usually don’t have the time to do so. You may have experienced this if you’ve ever felt rushed at the doctor’s office. But you have the power to slow them down and make them answer your questions — especially if they are recommending prescription drugs.
Dr. Frank Lipman, of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, published this fantastic list of questions you should ask your doctor when he or she hands you a prescription.
As someone who has attempted these types of conversations with my doctor, I know that asking these questions can be a challenge. Some physicians are open to discussing your questions and concerns while others are dismissive, acting as though your questions are a waste of his or her time. There are even times when your doctor won’t know the answers to these questions. (Scary, right?)
Whether the answers are known off hand or not, you’re entitled to the answers.
One great way to ensure you have all of your questions answered is to print this list. We’ve posted an easy, printable version here: http://www.liveinthenow.com/15-questions-to-ask-your-doctor-about-your-new-prescription
Bring this list with you to your appointment and if your physician is unable to answer these questions immediately, offer a printed copy so that he or she can fill it out and send it back to you by mail. If your doctor’s office has an online portal where you can send your doctor an email, ask for the address so that you can email this list.
As you probably know by now, I am a huge proponent of becoming an active participant in your healthcare. This can begin with asking the following questions when your doctor recommends a drug:
1. What does this medication do?
2. How, when and for how long should I take it?
3. Is this drug intended to cure my underlying condition or is it intended to give me relief from my symptoms?
4. What are the side effects? Are they minor or major? Common or rare?
5. Is it safe take while pregnant or breastfeeding? (If appropriate to you.)
6. Have long-term studies been done on this drug? Have studies been done for this drug on the elderly or women? (If appropriate to you.) Ask this especially if you are going to take the drug long-term.
7. Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
8. Is this dosage individualized for me, or is this a one-dose-fits-all dosage?
9. Would it be possible to start me at a lower dose and adjust it according to my response?
10. What herbs, supplements, foods, drinks, or activities should I avoid while taking this medication?
11. Is it safe for me to take this medication with other drugs or supplements I am taking?
12. Will any tests be necessary while I am taking this medication?
13. What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication? Take it immediately when I remember, or wait until my next regularly scheduled dose?
14. Is there a generic version of the medication?
15. What are my non-drug alternatives?
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Article updated on: April 10th, 2013