Are you taking your medicine correctly?

Posted on June 2, 2011


One of the biggest mistakes patients make is leaving the doctor’s office with questions left unanswered. In order to take an active role in your health, it is important that you understand all the instructions your doctor gives you. This is especially important when it regards your medication. If not taken correctly, your medication may not work. Or worse, you may get sicker. Next time you are at the doctor’s consider asking some of the questions below (AHRQ):

  • What are the different brands of this medicine?
  • What am I taking this medicine for?
  • Should I stop taking any other medicines that I am taking now?
  • How do I take the medicine and how often do I take it?
  • Do I need to take it all, or should I stop when I feel better?
  • How long will I be taking it?
  • Can I get a refill? How often can I get a refill?
  • Are there any tests I need to take while I’m on this medicine?
  • When will the medicine start working? How can I tell if it’s working?
  • When should I tell the doctor about a problem or side effect?
  • Are there foods, drinks, other medicines, or activities to avoid while I’m taking this medicine?
  • What are the side effects that can happen with this medicine?
  • What should I do if I have a side effect?
  • What happens if I miss a dose?
  • Is there printed information you give me about this medicine?

It may be helpful for you to take notes. This will help you remember what the doctor said. If you need help finding a doctor or finding affordable prescriptions, call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050. We can also provide you with free and accurate health information on any medication you would like.