When getting a new prescription, what should I ask the doctor?

When properly prescribed, prescription drugs can help a person feel better and control the symptoms of an illness or condition. But many of these drugs are extremely powerful and can produce very strong side effects. And when used incorrectly, a prescription drug could cause a serious or even fatal injury.

Of course, the primary responsibility of making sure that you get the correct drug for your symptoms belongs to your physician. And if he or she does a thorough diagnosis of your symptoms and your medical history, you should receive the right drug for your needs.

But it is always a good idea to be inquisitive when adoctor prescribes a new drug. And the AARP recommends that before you leave your doctor's office and get your prescription filled you get the answer to such questions as:

  • What does the drug do?
  • What is the drug's name?
  • How will I know if the drug is working as intended?
  • What is the correct dosage?
  • Is there the possibility of drug interactions?
  • Does the drug carry any known side effects or risks?

In addition, you can inquire about any possible less-expensive or generic versions of the drug that may be available. But most importantly, make sure that you fully understand all the pertinent facts about any new medication before you begin its use.

While you are best served by being proactive when being issued a new drug, it is your doctor who must take all possible precautions to ensure your safety. And if a doctor prescribes adrug that causes you harm, you may wish to discuss the matter with a medical malpractice attorney. The attorney can assess your injuries and help you decide if you want to pursue a civil suit to collect damages.

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