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Understanding your prescription medication


The medications prescribed for you are intended to improve your health and your quality of life. To receive the maximum benefit, you need to understand each medication and how to take it safely and effectively. While doctor-prescribed, it’s ultimately up to you to use your medications correctly.

With some medications — such as those prescribed for high blood pressure—you may not experience any immediate changes or benefits. However, taken consistently these medications significantly reduce your chances of experiencing an adverse medical outcome such as a stroke.

Asking questions can help ensure that you are getting the right information in order to receive the maximum benefits from your prescribed medication.

Here are some questions Ascension Via Christi pharmacists recommend asking your doctor or pharmacist when a new medication is prescribed for you.

  • What is the medication for and is there any written information about it I can have?
  • Is there a less expensive generic form of the medication I can take?
  • What is the recommended dose and how long should I take it?
  • When is the best time to take the medicine and should I avoid foods or certain activities?
  • When will I start to feel the effects of the medication and can I stop taking it if I start feeling better?
  • What are the medication's potential side effects and what I should to if I experience any?
  • Will any of my medications interact with each other? Are there any I should stop taking?
  • If I am pregnant or breast-feeding, is this medication safe to take?
  • Can I take vitamins with this prescription?
  • What if I forget a dose or take too much?
  • Can I get it refilled?