It's easy not to give too much thought to the medications that your doctor prescribes. After all, they're the physician, so they must know what's best. But while your doctor does have expertise that you lack, it's still important for you to understand certain things about the medications that you're taking. Take a look at some important medication questions to ask your primary care doctor the next time you visit.
Is it Possible to Reduce the Number of Medications I Take?
This question is particularly important for people who see multiple specialists in addition to their primary care physician. Ideally, all of your doctors should communicate and coordinate your care and your medication regimen in the most efficient way possible, but sometimes things fall through the cracks. Your primary care physician is usually responsible for coordinating care, so they are usually the best person to ask about whether your medications can be streamlined.
Make sure that you bring a list of all of your medications with you, no matter who prescribed them. Include the over-the-counter medications that you take regularly as well. By taking a look at the whole list, your physician may be able to spot medications that are redundant or no longer necessary.
How Does This Medication Work?
When your doctor prescribes a new medication, you probably know what it's intended to treat. But do you know how it works to treat your condition? If not, you should ask.
For example, both steroids and opioids can be used to reduce pain, but they work differently. Steroids reduce inflammation that causes pain, while opioids affect pain receptors in your brain to stop you from feeling pain. Depending on your condition, your doctor could choose to prescribe one of these types of medications, both of them, or something else entirely. Understanding how a particular medication works to treat your condition can help you gain a new perspective on your condition.
Are My Dietary Supplements Safe?
Often, patients don't think of dietary supplements and vitamins as medications, so they don't think to mention them to their doctors. But the truth is that vitamins and supplements can have effects on your health. Sometimes, they can aggravate a condition that you already have, or interact negatively with medication that you're taking.
It's important to discuss any dietary supplements that you're taking or thinking of taking with your doctor. That way, your doctor can warn you of any adverse health effects or medication interactions that might occur because of those supplements.
Don't be afraid to ask your doctor to spend some time answering your questions. Your curiosity could be the key to better health.