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Before you accept a prescription for a medication from your provider, make sure he or she is aware of any allergies to any medications you have. You also need to tell your provider about all of the other medications you are currently taking, if you are pregnant and if you have any specific problems with medications you have previously taken.

Be sure to take your medication responsibly. That means researching or asking about the side effects, learning what medications don’t mix, and making sure you follow the dosage instructions. Talk to your provider about any concerns you have with your medications. If you are unsure about how long to take your medicine, if you need to take it at a certain time of day, and if you only need to take the medicine while you experience symptoms; those are all helpful questions that your provider will be able to answer for you. As a matter of fact, the FDA recommends that you ask your provider the following questions before starting a new medication:

  • What is the name of the medication, and what is it supposed to do?
  • How and when do I take it, and when do I stop taking it?
  • What foods, drinks, or other medications should I avoid while taking the prescribed medication?
  • Should the medication be taken with food or on an empty stomach?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol while on this medication?
  • What are the side effects, and what should I do if they occur?
  • Is a Patient Package Insert available for the medication?

List of questions taken from NIMH Medications Publication No. 02-3929/ Rev. April 2002, reprinted September 2002

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