Learn the Risks and Benefits of Any Drug You Take
Taking a new medication is a big deal. When a doctor recommends a new prescription, you should walk away knowing why it was prescribed and how you should monitor your symptoms after taking it. The more informed you are as a patient, the easier it will be to communicate with your doctor about your health care needs. Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs program has started a public service campaign to help you do just that.
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- Why should I take this drug?
- Are there any side effects?
- Is there a generic form of this drug?
According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, “Patients can play a vital role in preventing medication errors when they have been encouraged to ask questions and seek answers about their medications before drugs are dispensed at a pharmacy or administered in a hospital.”
Be a Proactive Patient
Resist the urge to be shy about your health care. Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs website has some great ideas for how to effectively engage with your providers. Your doctor should welcome your questions and give you honest answers about what they’re prescribing you. If you don’t understand their response, ask them to explain it to you again, in plain language. If your provider doesn’t give you the information you’re requesting, you can always request a second opinion. Do your own research. Be sure to check out the FDA’s MedWatch website to read reports that patients and doctors have submitted about a drug. Check the FDA’s Recall website to be sure you aren’t taking a drug that’s been recalled for safety problems.
Tell us, what information do you want to know before taking a new prescription drug?