Medication nonadherence refers to an intentional failure to take medications as prescribed, and it’s very common in older adults. Medication nonadherence accounts for nearly 50% of treatment failures, 125,000 deaths, and up to 25% of hospitalizations each year in the United States.
To become more comfortable with the medications you’re prescribed, there are a few questions you should ask your doctor when you’re prescribed a new medication. Becoming more familiar with the drug you’re taking will increase your trust in what you’re putting in your body.
Questions You Should Ask When Prescribed a New Medication
Why Do I Need This Medication, and How Does it Work?
Start with the basics when you’re asking about a new drug. Have your doctor describe exactly what the medication is being prescribed for and how it will treat the problem at hand. This question will help you fully grasp the medical condition you have and the importance of treating it.
Asking how the medication works will detail what symptoms the medication will alleviate and how exactly it will do so. People often fear new medications because they don’t understand the science behind the drug and how it will help. A more scientific explanation leaves no fear about putting a new medication in your system.
What Are the Side Effects?
Side effects are determined through rounds of preliminary drug testing to accurately warn users of what to expect when they’re taking a medication. The side effects are written on the bottle, but have your doctor describe in more detail what side effects they’d expect you to experience. Serious side effects can often deter users from wanting to take a certain drug, but a doctor can highlight which side effects will typically go away in a few days and which ones you can combat in other ways. Discussing side effects ahead of time gives you time to prepare, but have a conversation with your doctor if they become too difficult to bear.
How Will This Affect My Other Medications?
Seeing multiple specialists or not taking a certain medication you’re prescribed can make it difficult for your doctor to accurately know your prescription list based on their records. Give your doctor an accurate list of the medications you’re currently taking so that they can prescribe the medication that will work best with the other medications.
What Are My Other Options?
If you still aren’t too keen on the mediation being prescribed after asking the previous questions, ask your doctor about alternatives. You may have other nonmedicinal options, such as a diet change or a different drug that you believe will be a better fit for you.