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  • The Advocate

21 Questions You Must Ask About Every New Medication

Healthcare providers are spending less and less time with patients and more time interfacing with their electronic health records system and the mountain of paperwork they are required to complete. Yet a ten-minute visit is hardly adequate for the patient who leaves a medical office with a new diagnosis, mounting fears, and little knowledge.

In times like these it is often helpful to have a ready script. This way, you get answers to your question. Every new diagnosis and new medication trigger questions, many of which come to mind long after you are no longer in the healthcare provider’s office. Nevertheless, it is important to know exactly how to take your medication before you leave the office. Write these questions down and stick them in your purse or wallet for the next time you need it.

1. What is the name of my medication?

2. What other names does it go by?

3. What is this medication for?

4. Will this medication cure me or just help me with symptom control?

5. Does this medication have a track record of helping others?

6. How should I take it?

7. How will I know if it is working?

8. Does it have to be taken at a specific time of day?

9. Do I have to take it with food?

10. Can it be taken with other medications?

11. What do I do if I forget a dose?

12. What are the short term and long term side effects? (eg. Weight gain, swelling)

13. When do I stop taking this medication?

14. What are all the options for treating my condition?

15. Why did you choose this medication over other medications and treatments?

16. What is the cost?

17. Is it a generic medication or is it available as a generic?

18. Can it interact with my current medications and supplements?

19. Can I take this if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

20. What foods, drinks, or activities should I avoid while taking this medication? (eg, alcohol, blood thinners)

21. Are there tests that I need to get while taking this medication?

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