Take as Directed: Talking to Your Doctor About Medications

January 30, 2020

An important step in taking charge of your health is speaking with your healthcare provider about medications you are taking, including its favorable results and any potential side effects.

As you age and experience life changes – including having a baby, undergoing surgery or experiencing other health events, finding the right medications for you is a crucial conversation to have with your providers. Below you’ll find a helpful list of questions to ask your provider when medication is prescribed to you.

  • What is the name of the medication, and what is it supposed to do?

  • How long will it be before I should expect to see results?

  • What kind of track record in terms of effectiveness does this medication have?

  • What are the primary short-term side effects of this medicine?

  • Are there any long-term side effects I should be aware of, such as diabetes, sexual side effects or weight gain?

  • Are there ways to minimize the side effects?

  • How and when do I take it, and when do I stop taking it?

  • What foods, drinks or other medications should I avoid while taking this medication?

  • Should it be taken with food or on an empty stomach?

  • Is it safe to drink alcohol while on this medication?

  • Is it safe for me to continue taking aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen (Aleve), vitamins and/or herbal supplements when taking this medication? Is there something specific I should avoid?

  • Is a generic version available?

  • What should I do if I miss a dose?

Keep a current list of your medications with you at all times. If you start a new medication or discontinue one, update your list as soon as the change is made.

By learning all you can about the medications you take, you can take charge of your health and help set yourself up for success on the road to recovery.