Questions to ask your doctor when starting a new medication

pills in bottle

When starting a new medication, appropriate questions to ask your doctor may include the following:

  • What is the purpose of this new medication? What is it meant to do?
  • Will I be taking it in addition to or instead of the medicine I’m already taking?
  • How will I need to take it (with/without food, with another device), and when should I be taking it?
  • Is this medicine meant to treat symptoms (such as acetaminophen for fever), or to prevent symptoms (statins to reduce cholesterol)?
  • I’m allergic to XXX: will that be a problem with this medicine?
  • You remember that I’m already taking YYY: should I be concerned about possible interactions with the new medicine?
  • What are some common side effects of this medicine that I might experience?
  • How will I know that the medicine is doing what it’s supposed to?
  • Under what circumstances do I need to call, come back, or seek additional medical care?
  • What alternatives are there to this medicine?
  • What are the consequences of not taking this medicine?
  • How much will this medicine cost? Are cheaper alternatives available? Is a generic equivalent available? Can I get a 3-month supply (this is sometimes cheaper)

image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AClonazepam_Pills_and_Pill_Bottle.jpI

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