Tips & Questions for Talking to Your Doctor

Talking to your doctor can feel daunting at times. You may be embarrassed, confused, or feel rushed when discussing their medicines. Here are questions to keep in mind and tips to help facilitate valuable conversations with your doctor.

Talking to Your Doctor 

  • Why? No matter what the health condition is, there is usually more than one choice of medication to treat it. Ask why the one your doctor recommends is the best choice for you. You should ask what the medicine is expected to do and how it will be monitored. Do you need any lab work or other tests to see how the drug is working? Ask the doctor when the next follow-up visit should be scheduled.
  • How & When? What are the directions for the prescription? Should it be taken in the morning or evening? On an empty stomach or after a meal? What if you miss a dose? Can you have alcohol while taking this medicine? Is it okay to drink grapefruit juice (which interacts with some medicines)? Will you need to increase doses over time?
  • Side effects? All drugs have potential side effects. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any side effects. Don’t ignore any side-effects when you start taking a new drug. Keep a list so you can explain the symptoms to the doctor or pharmacist. 
  • Questions? Make sure you get the answers to all of your questions before you leave the doctor’s appointment, including how many days you should take the medicine before the doctor can make any adjustments or changes.
  • Maintain a list of questions either in a notebook or using an app such as Health Storylines that you can take with you to all of your doctor visits. 
  • Break the stigma surrounding medications. Be open and unashamed when discussing what medications you take, especially with someone who needs to understand the condition they treat.
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