This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
While some doctors have all the right intentions when it comes to giving you the best care, many usually don’t have the time to do so. You may have experienced this if you’ve ever felt rushed at the doctor’s office.
But you have the power to slow your doctor down and make him/her answer your questions — especially if they’re recommending prescription drugs.
Dr. Frank Lipman, of the Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, published a fantastic list of questions you should ask your doctor when he or she hands you a prescription:
- What does this medication do?
- How, when and for how long should I take it?
- Is this drug intended to cure my underlying condition or give me relief from my symptoms?
- What are the side effects? Are they minor or major? Common or rare?
- Is it safe take while pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Have long-term studies been done on this drug? Have studies been done for this drug on the elderly or women? (Ask this especially if you are going to take the drug long term.)
- Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- Is this dosage individualized for me or is it a one-dose-fits-all dosage?
- Would it be possible to start me at a lower dose and adjust it according to my response?
- What herbs, supplements, foods, drinks or activities should I avoid while taking this medication?
- Is it safe for me to take this medication with other drugs or supplements I am taking?
- Will any tests be necessary while I am taking this medication?
- What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication? Take it immediately when I remember or wait until my next regularly scheduled dose?
- Is there a generic version of the medication?
- What are my non-drug alternatives?
Asking these questions can be a challenge. Some physicians are open to discussing your questions and concerns while others are dismissive, acting as though your questions are a waste of time. There are even times when your doctor won’t know the answers to these questions. Scary, right?
Whether the answers are known off hand or not, you’re entitled to the answers.
One great way to ensure you have all of your questions answered is to print this list. Bring it with you to your appointment and if your physician is unable to answer these questions immediately, offer a printed copy so that he or she can fill it out and send it back to you by mail. If your doctor’s office has an online portal where you can send your doctor an email, ask for the address so that you can email this list.