Learning To Take Medications Responsibly
For most people, getting a new prescription doesn’t raise any alarms. Most people take prescribed medication at least once in life and never think about the risks. But for some people, whether because of pre-existing conditions, or other medications, adding a new prescription comes with concerns. Learn more about what questions to ask the pharmacist the next time a physician prescribes a new medication.
1. Are drug interactions likely?
For people not currently on any other medications, asking about drug interactions may not be necessary. But for individuals currently taking other prescriptions, knowing if any negative side effects might occur when medications are mixed is important. However, some people should be aware that some prescription medications may negatively interact with over-the-counter (OTC) medications or even with commonly consumed items like foods, alcohol, or even caffeinated drinks.
2. Is there a generic version available?
Not everyone might be concerned about finding a generic version of a medication. But for patients that are focused on saving money, swapping the name brand of a drug for the generic version can be a smart way to save serious money. In some cases, whether a person relies on insurance or a pharmacy discount program, the savings can be significant. However, many physicians write prescriptions for the name-brand versions of drugs. While patients should ideally ask a physician if the generic version of a drug is just as effective as the name brand, asking a pharmacist before fulfilling the prescription can help to save money at the checkout counter.
3. What side effects should I expect?
Not every medication automatically causes side effects, but the risk is always possible. In some cases, side effects may be minimal or temporary, such as a headache or occasional nausea. But in other scenarios, side effects can either be debilitating or impact the quality of life enough to warrant asking a physician to review the prescription and swap the current medication for a less troublesome alternative option. Likewise, knowing that medication might cause more serious side effects like trouble breathing or swelling can ensure that a patient is aware and prepared to get emergency medical help if necessary.
Being an informed patient advocate
While people should rely on members of the medical community, individuals should also act as patient advocates to protect health and wellness. Taking the time to get informed about medications, proper dosages, potential interactions, or even ways to reduce prescription costs all go a long way towards taking a proactive stance in preserving health. When in doubt, people should speak with a physician or pharmacist to not only get informed but establish communication channels for future questions that may arise.