What to Ask About Prescription Drugs

We may not want to admit it, but we Baby Boomers are huge users of prescription medicines.

It's important to talk with your doctor about your meds.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about your meds.

According to a 2013 report from the United Health Foundation, nearly 8 in 10 seniors (which includes the oldest Boomers!) are currently living with at least one chronic health condition. Twenty percent have diabetes, and more than 70 percent have heart disease.  And the average male at age 50 takes four daily prescriptions. That’s a lot of pills!

A recent posting from Always Best Care Senior Services outlines important questions you need to ask your physician regarding your prescription drugs.

The more you know about the medicine you take, the better prepared you will be if problems arise.  Sit down with your health-care provider and ask:

  • What is the name of the medicine, and why am I taking it?
  • How does it treat my condition?
  • How many times a day should I take it? At what times?
  • Should I take the medicine with food or without? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
  • What does “as needed” mean?
  • When should I stop taking the medicine?
  • If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
  • What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?
  • Did you check that it doesn’t contain anything I’m allergic to?
  • How long will it take to work? How should I store the medication? Does it need to be refrigerated?
  • Can the pharmacist substitute a less expensive, generic form of the medicine?
  • May I drink alcohol while on this medication?
  • How will I know if this medicine is working?
  • Can this medicine interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medications—including herbal and dietary supplements—that I am taking now?

Are there other questions you ask your physician about medications?  Leave us a comment above!

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