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.
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's working?
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'm taking? Will it work safely with any supplements I use, like vitamins, for instance?
8. Do I need to get a refill? If so, 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?
+1: This is my plus 1 to the list. Keep a list of all the medications you take available in your wallet, handbag or on your cellphone. In case of an emergency, the medications you take will be at-the-ready should the information be needed.