8 questions to ask about your medications

Medications can be lifesavers. What are the right questions to ask to better understand them?

Whether by prescription or over the counter, medications can help us feel better.

Awareness of those medications and understanding the labels are vital as well.

Over the counter (OTC) medications will include a drug fact label that will instruct you in how to properly take the medicine, how to avoid side effects, uses and warnings. OTC medications can include cold and pain relievers, vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies.

Prescriptions also contain information from the pharmacy or from the drug manufacturer. While this information may seem overwhelming, it is provided for the safety of the patient.

Before starting any medication, it’s best to review this information, but how can a patient understand what he or she is looking at? How do they know what to ask to fully understand the medications designed to help them?

8 Questions to ask about medications

  1. What’s the name of the medicine (both trade and generic) and what is it for?
  2. Are there special instructions on how and when to take it, and for how long?
  3. What should I do if I miss a dose?
  4. When should I expect the medicine to begin to work, and how will I know if it’s working or not working?
  5. What are the common side effects, and what should I do if I experience them?
  6. Should I avoid any foods, drinks, alcohol or other medicines while taking this prescription?
  7. Will this medicine work safely with my other medications, including other prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and other supplements?
  8. Are there any additional information I should know about this medicine?

Talk to your doctor and ask these questions to gain a greater understanding — resulting in more confidence — in medications.