New Medicines: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Topic Overview

Ask the following questions if your doctor recommends a new medicine for your health condition.

General questions

What is the name of the medicine?

Brand name (trade name):

Generic name (chemical name):

   

What will the medicine do (for example, decrease blood pressure)?

Why do I need this medicine?

Are there any other medicine or treatment options?

How much does the medicine cost?

Is a generic form of the medicine available and appropriate for me?

Can I start with a prescription for a few days to make sure the medicine agrees with me?

Questions about taking the medicine

How is the medicine taken (for example, orally [by mouth] or through a skin patch)?

What amount do I take each time (dose)?

How often should it be taken (for example, 3 times a day)? When?

Should I take it with or without food?

What should I avoid while taking it (for example, certain foods, activities, other medicines, or alcohol)?


Will it interact with other medicines I am currently taking or other medical conditions? Yes___ No __ If yes, what might occur?

What are the common side effects (those that do not usually cause problems)?


What side effects should I report if I experience them?


What do I do if I miss a dose?

How long will I need to take this medicine (days, weeks, months)?

How will I know that the medicine is helping?

What is the next step if this medicine doesn't work?

Reminders

  • Be sure you understand your doctor's instructions.
  • State any concerns you have about taking the medicine. For example, ask if "4 doses daily" means taking a dose every 6 hours around the clock or just during regular waking hours.

Credits

Current as ofDecember 13, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

New Medicines: Questions to Ask the Doctor