Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ten Ways To Become Medicine Smart

The National Council on Patient Information and Education has a list of 10 ways to become medicine smart. When you get a prescription, remember to ask these questions:

1. What is the name of the medicine and what is it for? Is this the brand name or the generic name?

2. Is a generic version of this medicine available?(If so, it may be more cost effective to go generic)

3. How and when do I take it and for how long?

4. What foods, drinks, other medicines or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?

5. When should I expect the medicine to begin to work, and how will I know if it is working? Are there any tests required with this medicine (for example, to check liver or kidney function)?

6. Are there any side effects? What are they and what do I do if they occur?

7. Will this medicine work safely with the other prescription and nonprescription medicines I am taking? Will it work safely with any dietary/herbal supplements I am taking?

8. Do I need to get a refill? When?

9. How should I store this medicine?

10. Is there any written information available about the medicine? Is it available in large print or a language other than English?

I'd add one more to the list -> to keep a list of all the medications you take available, like in your wallet, pocketbook ,etc. I always have one on hand for in-case-of-emergency-situations.


Xmichra said...

we are lucky that shoppers drug mart keep this philosophy up to date (all the ten points are in the printer package you get, and a pharmasist always talks to you about how to take the meds, when, even fodds you should avoid). We have an awesome pharmacy there. We also get a print out, updated at that time of the medications we have been on or used since we started going there eight years ago, so I always have a copy. Great stuff when you have something that is recurring (like my blasted ear infection) and you can ask your doctor for the same ointments. I hear that doesn't work so well with pain meds.. but it works great for anti-inflamitories :P

OHN said...

EVERY time I pick up a prescription (even the ones I have been on for YEARS) the envelope always has a two page dissertation on all things you could possibly want to ever know about that drug. So, what do I do with it? It generally goes into the paper recycler without even being read.

Yes, I am a rebel ;)

Dr. Deb said...

I get the written pages when I get a prescription, but often lacking is the brand/generic question and what kind of follow up should go on.

Ms.L said...

Sometimes the information on those sheets is SCARY but when my son had a violent reaction to a drug it was very helpful! Then I appreciated all the info,lol

S'onnie said...

I have never really been too informed about my medications etc however I recently asked some very similar questions of my dr and he was actually quite off put and it has made me question whether it is time to see another dr. He has attempted to put me on a medication that costs me a lot (i.e. has no government subsidy) and further to this is something that I don't even really need. He told me it was to ensure that my blood pressure doesn't get high however I don't have high blood presure so have refused to fill the script. I talked to a friend who is a GP as well and he said that it was strange but a lot of old school drs do things like that

Dr. Deb said...

If you are attempting to empower yourself and a professional doesn't take the stance well, it may INDEED be time for a new doctor.

CrackerLilo said...

The wallet list is a terrific idea! I'm going to make one up and tell my wife about that, too.

I sometimes marvel that I've made it to 35, and right now is one of those times, because I learned a few of these things the hard way. :-)

Wanda's Wings said...

Good advise. I am glad my doctors are up front on side effect, usage,etc.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

EXCELLENT info as always! I think for older folks this is especially important. They come from an era where you don't question your dr. you just do what they tell you.

David said...

Thanks for sharing this excellent post. Medications are so powerful and play such a major role in our lives, yet we're often happy to just take them without thinking about their impact on our bodies.

Keep up the good work!

Marj aka Thriver said...

Good advice. Everyone has to be very proactive and advocate for themselves.

The Lone Beader said...

laughter is the best medicine!