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In the Spotlight

Medication Questions: Get the Facts

Know the purpose, benefits, and risks

Pharmacist preparing a Veteran's medicationWhether you were prescribed a new medication or have been taking them for some time, asking questions and providing information to your doctor can improve your care. Getting the facts about your medications and over-the-counter drugs can help prevent unintended consequences. It's important to know the risks, side effects, and feelings associated with medication ahead of time, such as drowsiness. It can prepare and help you keep a close watch on potential changes in your body.

The next time you visit the doctor's office, consider asking the following recommended questions:


  • How much is the co-pay for this medication?

  • How and when should I use the medication?

  • How is this medication going to help me?

  • How much do I use?

  • How long should I use it?

  • How should I expect to feel?


  • Are there refills?

  • Are there any particular directions for using the medication?


  • What should I do if I run out, and there are no refills?

  • What should I do if I forget to take the medication or take too much?

  • What should I do if I get any side effects?

  • Should I avoid any other medications, supplements, drinks, foods, activities, or other things while on this medication?

  • Is there anything I should watch for, like allergic reactions or side effects?


  • Can I get it sent to me, or can I pick it up here, or can I have the prescription mailed to an outside pharmacy (like Walmart, CVS, etc.)?

  • Can I stop using the medication or take less if I feel better?


  • Will the medication take the place of anything else I am using?

  • When will the medication start working?

  • Will I need any tests to check the medication's effects (blood tests, x-rays, other)? When will I need those?


  • Do I need to keep this medication in the refrigerator?


  • Is there patient information for this medication?

Please vote in our unscientific poll. All responses are anonymous.

Have you ever taken written questions into a doctor’s appointment?