The smartest thing you can do when it comes to your health and medical purchases is to be an informed individual. Here are a few prescription tips to help you stay on top of what is going on in the world of pharmaceuticals.
It is your right to ask your doctor why he/she is prescribing a certain medication for you to take. Ask them about how the medication will help you, if you really need it, what side effects it might cause, your risk factors for taking it and/or drug interactions that may occur. Your local pharmacist is a better resource for drug information.
Tell your doctor you want to think before starting a new medication. You can get reliable information online from the drug manufacturer’s website. Doing your own research can surpass anything your doctor can tell you about medications. Doctors are not pharmacists and most of them only know the basics; dosages and standard data about drugs.
Costs and Coverage
You need to know what a prescription is going to cost you with or without insurance and/or Medicare. Start by learning about your insurance formulary list in order to determine costs for medications. You need to know if the medication being prescribed to you is covered by your insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. You might want to find out about free prescription cards to help offset expenses.
Other good rules of thumb for being smart about your prescription medications include:
- Verify the dosage and make sure it is clear to you.
- Ask for a print-out of the side effects and general drug information at your pharmacy.
- Make sure to find out if there are any special instructions for taking your medication. This can include things like avoiding or eating certain foods with it, whether it causes drowsiness or if you need any vitamins or supplements while taking it.
- If you have problems swallowing pills ask for a liquid form if available. You may be able to crush them if they are not time-released making them easier to take.
- Ask about the proper storage and get expiration information on the medication(s) you take.
- Find out if there is a generic to save money. You may also be able to request a higher dose and adjust your dosage appropriately to save money (Sometimes insurance coverage will cover more for larger dosages of certain medications.).
- Buying in bulk if/when you can might be a good way to save money.
You reserve the right to choose whether or not you take certain medications. Barring a life-threatening disease that requires medication, you have options. It is wise to be an informed patient and consumer for your health, quality of life and to save money.