What to Ask Your Doctor About Prescription Drugs

The more you know about the medicine you take, the better prepared you will be if problems arise. Sit down with your health-care provider and ask:

  • What is the name of the medicine, and why am I taking it?
  • How does it treat my condition?
  • How many times a day should I take it? At what times?
  • Should I take the medicine with food or without? Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medicine?
  • What does “as needed” mean?
  • When should I stop taking the medicine?
  • If I forget to take my medicine, what should I do?
  • What side effects can I expect? What should I do if I have a problem?
  • Did you check that it doesn’t contain anything I’m allergic to?
  • How long will it take to work? How should I store the medication? Does it need to be refrigerated?
  • Can the pharmacist substitute a less expensive, generic form of the medicine?
  • May I drink alcohol while on this medication?
  • How will I know if this medicine is working?
  • Can this medicine interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medicines—including herbal and dietary supplements—that I am taking now?


“Taking Medicines Safely,” National Institutes of Health Senior Health and “Medicines: Use Them Safely,” National Institute on Aging

Reprinted by Always Best Care Senior Services with permission from Senior Spirit, the newsletter of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) program provides the advanced knowledge and practical tools to serve seniors at the highest level possible while providing recipients a powerful credential that increases their competitive advantage over other professionals. The CSA works closely with Always Best Care Senior Services to help ABC business owners understand how to build effective relationships with seniors based on a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. To be a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) means one willingly accepts and vigilantly upholds the standards in the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility. These standards define the behavior that we owe to seniors, to ourselves, and to our fellow CSAs. The reputation built over the years by the hard work and high standards of CSAs flows to everyone who adds the designation to their name. For more information, visit www.society-csa.com

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