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Review Prescription Medications With Your Doctor

Update Your Regimen of Prescription Medications

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Updated August 14, 2007

Prescription Medications Manage Chronic Conditions

Prescription medications are commonly ordered by doctors to treat arthritis and other chronic conditions. Arthritis patients, as well as people who have more than one medical condition, are often directed to take multiple prescription medications. Some people may end up taking 10 different prescription medications each day, if not more.

The medication regimen seems arduous, but it becomes quite routine. It becomes almost too routine - second nature, habitual, done without thought. It is drilled into patients that being compliant with their treatment plan is important. Taking pills religiously, on time, every day is expected.

Discuss Prescription Medications With Your Doctor

During each appointment you have with your doctor, the nurse or medical assistant usually begins by asking if you are taking the same prescription medications you were when last seen. Any changes are noted in your medical record. When the doctor comes into the examination room, you typcially discuss how you have been feeling and any new or different symptoms you have been experiencing. Your doctor may suggest a new prescription medication or treatment to help manage any symptoms you are having.

It is equally important, after discussing current medical problems and issues, to review your entire prescription medication regimen with your doctor. For each prescription medication you take, if you don't already have the answers, be sure to ask and leave the doctor's office knowing:

  • Why am I taking this medication? Why was it prescribed?

  • Do I still need to take this prescription medication?

  • How do I know if the medication is working? How is the effectiveness monitored?

  • Should I increase or decrease the current strength or dosage of the medication? Am I already taking the maximum dosage?

  • Is there another medication I could try which may be more effective or have fewer side effects?

Don't Shy Away From Asking Important Questions

If you do not have this conversation about your medication regimen on a regular basis with your doctor, you may inadvertently keep taking pills you no longer need, or those which are no longer effective. With your doctor's permission, you may be able to change or even stop taking some of your prescription medications.

Over time, your medical condition can change and your treatment regimen may need to change accordingly. Some patients hesitate to ask a lot of questions and expect their doctor to direct their course of treatment. While the doctor is definitely in charge, as a partner in your own health care decisions, it is perfectly alright for you to either start or weigh in on the conversation. It's your responsibility to know the answers to specific questions about the prescription medications you take. Review your prescription medications with your doctor on a regular basis.

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