Smart Decisions: Know Your Options (cont.)
Decisions About Medicines
See a list of Decision Points about medicines. Decision Points are designed to guide you through key health decisions, combining medical information with your personal values to make a wise health decision.
The first rule of medicines is to know why you need each medicine before you use it.
Learn the facts
- What is the name of the medicine, and why do you need it?
- How long does it take to work?
- How long will you need to take it?
- How and when do you take it (for example, with food or on an empty stomach)?
- Are there nondrug options?
Use this medicine information form(What is a PDF document?) to help you.
Consider the risks and benefits
- How much will this medicine help?
- Are there side effects or other risks?
- Could this medicine interact with other medicines or herbal supplements that you currently take?
Ask about costs
- How much does the medicine cost?
- Is a generic form of the medicine available and appropriate for you?
- Is there a similar medicine that will work almost as well and cost less?
- Can you start with a prescription for a few days to make sure the medicine agrees with you?
Talk to your doctor
- What are your concerns about the medicine?
- What do you expect the medicine to do? Are your expectations realistic?
- What other prescription and nonprescription medicines are you taking?
- Do you want to try the medicine or try other ways of treating the problem?