Doctor visits are an important part of staying healthy, but they can be overwhelming — especially when your doctor prescribes a new medication. You may not be able to think of any questions to ask doctor about the new medication in the moment — and that’s okay. Advanced Nursing is here to help!
Between high cholesterol, heart disease, and other health concerns, many older adults find themselves on multiple medications at once. So, it’s important to have all of the information on it. Read on for six prescription medication questions to ask your or your loved one’s doctor to make sure you’re informed.
6 Example Questions to Ask Your Doctor About New Medication
What Is This Medication for, and How Does It Work?
Before starting any new prescription, you must understand exactly what it’s for. Sometimes patients are prescribed medications for concerns they aren’t familiar with.
Always ask your doctor why this new medication is necessary and what it will do to improve your health. If they give a vague answer, ask further questions to better understand the purpose of your new medicine.
It’s also important that you understand how your new medication works. For example, suppose your doctor says this medicine will lower your blood pressure. How does it do that? Medications can work in countless ways, and understanding the unique mechanism behind your medication will help you make more informed health decisions.
Are There Any Risks Associated with This Medication?
Another good question about prescription medication is whether there are any associated risks. You should be fully informed about side effects, adverse reactions, and other negative impacts. Too often, patients begin taking a new medicine without being fully versed on potential side effects. This makes them ill-prepared for dizziness, vomiting, blurry vision, and other adverse reactions.
Many medications cause more serious side effects, such as blood clots or heart arrhythmia. These risks are often rare and may only occur under specific circumstances, but you should always be aware of them before taking a new medication. Always ask your doctor whether there are any serious risks associated with your new medicine and how frequently those occur in other patients who take it.
If serious risks are associated with your new medication, ask your doctor what symptoms you might experience if one of these adverse effects occurs. Risks like heart attack and stroke need immediate medical attention. Make sure to ask your doctor what to do in the event one of these risks occurs.
How Is This Medication Taken?
One of the simplest yet most important prescription medication questions is how the medicine should be taken. Your doctor should give you detailed information on the dosage and the timing of your medication.
Ask your doctor whether you should take it with food or on an empty stomach. Some medications are supposed to be taken with a full glass of water. You should also ask your doctor whether the medication can be chewed, broken, or swallowed whole. Some medicines will not work as well if they are chewed or broken.
What Should Be Avoided When Taking This Medication?
A vital question about prescription medication is whether there is anything you need to avoid when taking it. Many medications require you to avoid alcohol consumption. Other medicines can’t be taken with caffeinated drinks, such as coffee or tea. A wide variety of medications can’t be taken when operating heavy machinery, including driving a car.
These things usually need to be avoided because of the medication’s side effects. For example, your doctor may instruct you to avoid driving if your medication causes dizziness. To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, always ask your medical team what you should avoid when you’re taking a new medication.
How Soon Will It Begin to Work?
The purpose of your new medication is to resolve a certain symptom or set of symptoms you’re experiencing. Most people want to see their symptoms resolved promptly, so one of the questions to ask your doctor about new medication is how soon it will work.
Some medicines begin working after the first dose, while others are cumulative and require several doses to show results. Ask your doctor how soon you can expect to see or feel results from this new medication. Their answer will give you realistic expectations about how you might feel while on this new prescription.
Will It Be Taken Short-Term or Indefinitely?
Another one of the more important prescription medication questions is how long you’ll be taking it. The answer will depend on the type of medication and what it’s being used for. You need to know whether you’ll need this medication in the short term, in the long term, or indefinitely.
You should also ask whether the dosage will remain the same throughout the time you’re taking this medication. Sometimes, the dosage is supposed to be tapered down to a lower dose over time. Your doctor should go over all of this when you receive your new prescription.
Need Help Managing Medications?
If you or a loved one are on medications, managing your dosages and prescriptions is essential for staying healthy. Skilled nursing in-home services can help senior adults manage daily medications and other medical treatments.