How do I know if a new medicine is right for me?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

Often, you may hear or read about a new drug and wonder if you should ask your doctor about a prescription. Sometimes, the new drug works wonders, but most of the time, there is no such luck.

Here is a mnemonic from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) that helps your doctor assess new medications and determine if they may be right for you: STEPS.

S: Safety -- what are the drug interactions and side effects?
T: Tolerability -- how many people stop taking the drug because of side effects?
E: Effectiveness -- this may seem obvious, but really: does this drug not only change a lab value (blood pressure, etc.) but does it improve quality of life or help people live longer?
P: Price: Is it worth the cost?
S: Simplicity: How many times per day is it required? With or without food? Can it be taken with other medications?
Together with your doctor, discuss these issues before you add another medication to your daily routine. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.