Questions to ask about your medication

I think the smartest thing for people to do to manage very distressing emotions is to take a medication if it helps, but don't do only that. You also need to train your mind.....if you rely solely on medication to manage depression or anxiety, and you have done nothing to train the mind, when you come off the medication, you are just as vulnerable to a relapse as though you had never taken the medication.


Daniel Goleman   Author of Emotional Intelligence

At the point where a doctor issues a prescription, the medication and its supporting information is still not in your hands! So you cannot read up on it there and then.


You may also be reacting to a serious medical diagnosis. And we cannot always process bad news then and there.


Even although you know the explanations will be inside the packaging, this time can be daunting for some. So be persistent and ask your doctor to answer your questions about the proposed treatment.


                    I have seldom had a doctor talk me through the medications they are about to prescribe. I have always had to ask. So be radical and ask!


                    Although not always serious, some medications have huge side-effects that can seriously impact other aspects of your life. Your doctor                        can help you anticipate these side effects and advise on how to deal with them. If you then experience unexplained side effects,  contact   

                    your doctor.


                    Side effects vary from person to person, depending on the dosage, the patient’s disease, age, weight, gender, ethnicity, overall health.       And whether they continue to take drugs, alcohol, or nutritional supplements.


Some drugs come with side effects that range from birth defects and liver damage to blood clots, bladder cancer, Crohn’s disease, erectile dysfunction, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, suicidal behaviour, uncontrollable bleeding to name but a few.


It is important you do not stop taking your medication without first talking to your doctor. If you believe yourself to be in immediate danger, call 999 or 112 , the common emergency telephone number that can be dialled free of charge from any fixed or mobile telephone in order to reach emergency services or, if possible, go to your local accident and emergency department.


So now, here are some questions you may wish to ask.


  1. Are there any non-drug medications I can take?

  2. What is the name of my medication?

  3. What is the dosage amount I should take?

  4. How and when should I take my medication?

  5. Is it important to take it before or after a meal, with or without water, chewed or whole?

  6. For how long should I take it?

  7. When should we review it? (Efficacy,, duration, dosage level.)

  8. What does my medication do?

  9. What are the risks of this medication and do the benefits of taking it outweigh those risks?

  10. What are its side effects?

  11. Can I get an emergency appointment should I suffer a severe reaction?

  12. Is there a less expensive eg generic version of the medication?

  13. Does my medication contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction?

  14. What foods, drinks, or activities should I avoid while taking this medication?

  15. Is it safe to take with other medications, nutritional supplements etc?

  16. Is it safe to take this medication whilst pregnant or breastfeeding?

  17. How soon will the medication show results?

  18. What should I notice?

  19. What should I do if I miss a dose?

  20. What if I start to feel better? Can I discontinue the treatment?

  21. Will any tests be required during the treatment with this medication to check for its effects on me?