Ten Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Your Medicines

Medicines 10-1-14

How well do you know the medicines you take? Do you know their names? How they should be stored? What to do if you run out? In other words, would you consider your medicines to be your close friends? Or are they more like casual acquaintances?


If you don’t know your medicines well, you should get to know them. Understanding your medicines can help you get the most out of your health care. And it can help you live a healthy, active, and satisfying life.


Understanding your medicines starts in your doctor’s office. Here are 10 questions to ask your doctor that can help you better understand your medicines:

  • What is the name of this medicine?
  • Why do I need this medicine?
  • How does this medicine work?
  • What are the active ingredients in this medicine?
  • Does this medicine interact with other medicines or supplements I’m taking? Does it interact with any food or drinks?
  • How do I take this medicine?
  • What are the potential side effects?
  • What should I do if I think I am experiencing side effects?
  • What could happen if I do not take the medicine as recommended?
  • What should I do if I run out of medicine, miss a dose, or take too much?


You may want to print out this list of questions and bring it with you on your next trip to the doctor’s office. Then go over each question with your doctor. Take notes to help you remember the information.


You likely have more than one doctor who you see. Along with a general practitioner, or family doctor, you may also see a few specialists or other health care practitioners. So you may be taking medicines prescribed by a few doctors. In that case, make sure to go over these questions with each doctor for each medicine you take.


You’ll also want to give each doctor a full list of the medicines you are taking, including any vitamins, herbs, and supplements. This is important information for your doctors to know. They can make sure all of your medicines work well together. This can help you get the most from your medicines and avoid any harmful interactions.