Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Starting a New Medication
Let’s review a set of questions that you should ask before taking a new medicine. Don’t forget to ask these questions about the medications you currently take as well.
Critical Questions for Your Health Care Provider
Ask these questions of your health care provider before taking a new
- What is the name of this medication—both brand and generic names?
- Is a generic (low cost) version of this medication available? (A generic version of a brand-name drug is not always available or recommended for everyone. Discuss if a generic drug is right for you with your health care provider or pharmacist.)
- When should I expect the medication to begin to work? How will I know if it is working?
- What are the possible side effects?
- Is this medication safe with reduced kidney or liver function? (Ask this question if you have one of these conditions.)
- Can the medication interfere with other medication I’m taking?
- Which foods or drinks should I avoid? (including alcohol or caffeine)
- Which activities should I avoid (driving, operating machinery, etc.)?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- How much water is needed when the instructions say “take with water”?
- Can I crush a tablet or capsule into my food?
- Can I split the pill into smaller doses?
- Can I get a refill? If so, when? (Make sure that you have enough medicine to last until the next visit.)
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