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Prescription Checklist: What to Ask Your Doctor and Pharmacist

Take this list with you to be sure you are taking the right medications in the right amounts

National Institutes of Health NIH/National Institute on Aging

Based on content from the NIH/National Institute on Aging publication, "Safe Use of Medicines."

You can avoid common problems associated with medicines by asking these questions when you meet with your doctor and checking that you have complete information when you fill your prescriptions.

Ask these questions before you leave your doctor’s office.

  • What is the name of the medicine and why am I taking it?
  • How many times a day should I take this medicine? How much medicine should I take?
  • How long will it take this medicine to work? When should I stop taking it?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Are there any side effects I should know about? When should I call you if I am having side effects?
  • Can I safely mix this medicine with the remedies, vitamins, and OTC drugs I am taking?
  • Do I still need to be taking the other medications prescribed for me?

Before leaving the pharmacy with your prescription:

  • Check the label on your medicine.
  • Check that the bottle has your name on it.
  • Make sure that the directions are the same as your doctor said. If not, tell the pharmacist.
  • Ask for an easy-open cap if you have trouble opening the bottle.
  • Be sure that you can read and understand the directions on the container.

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