What questions should I ask my doctor if he prescribes a new drug?

If your provider recommends that you start taking a new prescription drug, here are some questions to ask:
•How will the medicine help treat my illness?
•What are the benefits versus the risks of taking it?
•What steps can I take to make sure it works best for me?
•When should I follow up to discuss how it makes me feel and if it works for me?
•Are there options besides taking a medicine (e.g. diet or exercise) that would work for me?
More specific questions you might ask include:
•What is the medicine's name, and what is it supposed to do?
•How and when do I take it, and for how long?
•While taking this medicine, should I avoid:
◦certain foods or dietary supplements?
◦caffeine, alcohol, or other beverages?
◦other medicines, prescription and over the counter?
◦certain activities, such as driving or smoking?
•Will this new medicine work safely with the other medicines I'm already taking?
•Are there side effects, and what do I do if they occur?
•Will the medicine affect my sleep or activity level?
•What should I do if I miss a dose?
•Is there written information available about the medicine? (At the very least, ask the doctor or pharmacist to write out complicated directions and medicine names.)
When a new drug is started patients should know why it was started, what the side effects are, how often they are supposed to take the medication, and how long they will likely be on the medication.

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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.