Getting the most of your medicine

Working with your doctor on drug choices is essential

 Typically, your doctor can choose from many medications to treat the same illnesses. So it's important to take an active role by discussing options, ways to help save money and any side effects with your doctor. And be sure to take medications only as directed.

Discuss the options with your doctor

Your doctor may consider factors such as your age, physical condition and allergies (as well as your budget) when helping to decide which medication may be right for you. Depending on your situation, there may be several choices available.

Consider asking your doctor:

Is a generic medication or lower-cost brand-name medication available?

Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts. And they might save you money. More than 75% of all prescriptions today are for generic medications.1

Can you find over-the-counter relief?

Many conditions can be managed without a prescription. But remember, even nonprescription items may interact with prescription medications. Discuss all medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements you're taking with your doctor or pharmacist.

Take all medications as directed

It's a good idea to review your medication instructions with your doctor or pharmacist. Remember to ask plenty of questions, such as:

  • Can you take it with other medicines?
  • How will it interact with vitamins and herbal or other supplements?
  • What dosage is prescribed?
  • Are there special instructions, such as to take on an empty stomach?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • What happens if you miss a dose?
  • Can you take a generic version to save money?

Be sure to take the right amount as prescribed by your doctor—no more, no less—at the proper times and always read the warnings.

Footnotes

  1. IMS Health, National Sales Perspective, National Prescription Audit, Jan 2016