Jump-start a healthy, helpful conversation with your healthcare provider
Below are tips to talk about medicines with your healthcare team.
- Discuss an up-to-date list of all the medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take. Write down the medicine names and dosage. Furthermore, keep a medicine list for each family member. Also, make sure your spouse, or adult children if appropriate, can access the list in case of urgent care.
- Ask your healthcare provider to review the list of medicines you are prescribed periodically. Are they all still necessary?
- Of course, tell your health team if you are, or may be, pregnant or are nursing.
- Also, share whether you or a family member:
- is allergic to certain medicines or foods
- has medical conditions. For example, asthma, diabetes, or kidney disease
- take other prescriptions or OTC medicines regularly
- follow a special diet or take supplements
- use alcohol or tobacco regularly
- Talk with your healthcare provider before using an OTC medicine for the first time. Most importantly, inform your doctor if it will be combined with a prescription.
- Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist if new or unexpected symptoms appear.
- Never stop taking medicine the doctor has told you or your children to finish just because symptoms disappear.
- Get advice from a pharmacist before crushing or splitting tablets. Some medicines should only be swallowed whole.
- If your doctor writes a prescription by hand, make sure you can read it. Also, ask if he or she can write what the medicine is used for. For instance, writing “take once daily for high blood pressure”. Can he or she use e-prescribing? E-prescribing electronically sends prescriptions to your pharmacy from your doctor. This can help improve the prescribing process.
More conversation kick-starters
- Ask the Right Questions: Key questions to ask about the medicines you and your family members take
- Make Note, Take Note “wallet card” to ask the right questions at your upcoming health appointment
- Remember To Ask “wallet card” to guide your discussion with your healthcare provider
- 10 terms to know for medication safety: Side Effects, Interactions, Adherence and More
- Why ask questions? Talk Before You Take videos
Learn more about maximizing medicine benefits and minimizing risks