National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health  |  2 Comments  | 

Questions to Ask your Doctor About Medications

If the doctor prescribes a drug(s) for your parent's condition, there are some questions you should ask. First, make sure you know the name of the drug and understand why it has been prescribed for your parent. Ask the doctor to write down how often and for how long your parent should take it.

Make notes about any other special instructions. There may be foods or drinks to avoid while your parent is taking the medicine. Or you may have to take the medicine with food or a whole glass of water. If your parent is taking other medications, make sure your doctor knows, so he or she can prevent harmful drug interactions.

Sometimes medicines affect older people differently than younger people. Let the doctor know if the medicine doesn't seem to be working or if it is causing problems. It is best that your parent not to stop taking the medicine on his or her own. If they want to stop taking the medicine, check with your doctor first.

Questions to ask about medications:

  • What are the common side effects? What should I pay attention to?
  • When will the medicine begin to work?
  • What should I do if my parent misses a dose?
  • Should he/she take it at meals or between meals?
  • Does Mom/Dad need to drink a whole glass of water with it?
  • Are there foods, drugs, or activities Mom/Dad should avoid while taking this medicine?
  • Will he/she need a refill? How do I arrange that?
  • Can Mom/Dad become addicted to this drug?
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