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Asking the right questions about your medications

Whether you’re taking a prescription drug or one you buy
over-the-counter, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharma-
cist questions. Keep a list of the medications and doses
readily available in your purse or wallet.
• What’s the name of the medication?
Learn both the generic and brand names.
• Why are you taking it?
It’s critical that you understand the purpose of the medication.
Knowing why your doctor has recommended a particular
medication will increase the chances that you take the med-
ication appropriately and receive the intended benefit.
• What effect can you expect?
How will the drug make you feel? How soon can you expect
results? Some drugs take days or weeks to have an effect.
• How much, when and how long should you take it?
Make sure the directions make sense. “Four times daily”
could mean with each meal and at bedtime or every six hours,
including the middle of the night.
• Are there restrictions?
Some foods can interfere with the effectiveness of a drug.
Alcohol also can interfere and cause certain side effects. In
addition, some drugs can make you sensitive to sunlight.

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