Talk About Your Medicines Month
Why do we need to talk about the medicines and supplements we are taking? As we get older, we may face more health problems, and we may take more and more medications to treat these conditions. If we are not careful, we may end up with adverse reactions to our prescription drugs or harmful interactions between the drugs and/or supplements we take.
For all those reasons, the National Council on Patient Information and Education has designated October as National Talk About Your Medicines Month. Most older Americans take at least one prescription, and many take three or more. Changes in our bodies, such as gaining or losing weight, can change the way prescription drugs work. It’s wise to occasionally review the list of medicines with a healthcare provider to make sure things are working as they should and we are aware of any associated side effects. It’s possible that if we are still taking a drug we were initially prescribed several years ago, we may not remember all the information we got from our pharmacist or doctor at the start of the prescription.
Here are some questions you may want to ask your healthcare provider about any medication you are taking. Be sure to also include discussion of any over-the-counter medications or supplements.
- Are there any generics available?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What does four times a day mean, practically?
- What side effects could this medication cause, and how should I handle them?
- Is this medication available in a different form?
- What do I need to know about how to store this medicine?
- Should I take this once-daily medicine in the morning or at night?
- Should I take this with food or on an empty stomach?
- Is there any pamphlet available about this medication?
- How will I know if this is working?
- Do I need any follow-up appointments related to this medication?
Remember that a good doctor-patient relationship involves open communication. Never hesitate to ask questions and always make sure you understand the answers provided. This information will help you to use the medication safely and effectively and to be aware of what to expect while taking it. If in doubt, or if you experience any issues with your medication, contact your healthcare provider. Your pharmacist may also be helpful if you have trouble reading the label on your medication. For educational toolkits and other ways to manage your medication, visit www.bemedwise.org.
This information is not intended to replace that of your healthcare provider.