Educate Before You Medicate

How much do you know about the medications that you take? Millions of Americans take prescription medicines daily. As Talk About Your Medicines Month is observed in October, atom Alliance encourages you to ask questions and discuss your medications with your healthcare provider.

A recent survey by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) reveals:

  • 85 percent of healthcare providers feel their patients follow treatment plans, but only 56 percent of patients report that they follow the doctor’s orders
  • 62 percent of patients and caregivers are not aware of any safety warnings about their medicines, but almost every medication comes with potential risks and side effects

Asking questions and talking about the right way to use your prescriptions can help you:

  • take medicines exactly how they are prescribed
  • understand potential side effects
  • avoid adverse drug reactions

According to NCPIE, here are helpful questions to ask your provider about your prescriptions:

  1. What is the brand and/or generic name of the medicine, and what specifically is it for?
  2. How and when do I take it and for how long?
  3. What side effects should I expect and what should I do about them?
  4. Should I take this medicine on an empty stomach or with food?
  5. Should I avoid any activities, foods, drinks, alcohol or other medicines while taking this prescription?
  6. If it’s a once-a-day dose, is it best to take it in the morning or evening?
  7. Will this medicine work safely with any other medicines I’m taking, including over-the-counter medicines?
  8. When should I expect the medicine to begin to work and how will I know if it’s working?
  9. How should I store this medicine – room temperature, or in the refrigerator?
  10. Is there any additional written information I should read about the medicine?

For more on talking to your healthcare provider about your medications, visit the Talk Before You Take website.

Download a Personal Health Record to help you keep track of your medications.

Learn more about how atom Alliance is working with healthcare providers to prevent adverse drug reactions.