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Questions About Medicines
Ask your health-care team the following questions about any of the medicines they prescribe or recommend, including any samples they give you or over-the-counter (OTC) products.
• What are the brand and generic (non-brand) names of the medicine?
• What is the active ingredient?
• Could I use a generic form?
• What is the medicine for, and what will it do for me?
• When should I start to feel better or see other, measurable results?
• When should I report back to the team?
• Will this medicine take the place of any other medicine I have been using?
• Should I avoid any drinks, foods, other substances, or activities while using this medicine?
• Can this medicine be used safely with the other medicines and treatments I already use, including any prescription or OTC medicines, vitamins, herbals, or other supplements?
• Should I avoid starting other medicines (prescription or OTC), dietary supplements (like herbals and vitamins), or other treatments while I am using this medicine?
• What are the possible side effects from this medicine? What do I do if I get a side effect?
• Is there any chance that I could become tolerant, dependent, or addicted to this medicine? If so, what can I do to avoid this?
• How and when should I use the medicine, in what amount, and for how long? Are there any special directions for using this medicine?
• Will I need any tests (blood tests, x-rays, other tests) to make sure the medicine is working as it should? How will I get the results?
• What should I do if I miss a dose?
• What should I do if I take too much by mistake?
• How and where should I keep this medicine? (Always put medicines out of the sight and reach of children and pets.)
• Where and how can I get more information about this medicine?
These questions are based on a consumer guide developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more tips from the FDA, go to www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/default.htm.
Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.