Prescription drugs can greatly increase your quality of life.
They are able to manage a wide range of chronic conditions, making life more comfortable and enjoyable to live.
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However, that doesn’t mean a simple pill can fix all of your problems. Prescription medications can cause a lot of damage too when they aren’t taken properly. Not to mention, they can be expensive and remembering to take them every single day can be inconvenient and frustrating.
If your doctor is recommending that you take a medication, or if you’re interested in learning more about a specific medication you think might help you, make sure you ask yourself these seven questions first.
Are There Any Reported Issues?
If you pay attention, you’ll find that some medications are in the news all the time. That’s because although they may have shown enough promise to make it to market, prolonged use shows that serious issues can develop over time.
For example, many women have reported that using an IUD caused them to develop thyroid disease. Although the allegations have yet to be proven, it should make you think twice before agreeing to your doctor’s recommendation to try one.
Always take the time to ask your doctor and do your own research to make sure there aren’t any reported issues with the drug you are being prescribed. You may realize that it’s better to wait or take another prescription drug altogether.
Is There a More Natural Option?
Prescriptions can improve your life in many ways, but that doesn’t mean they are your only option. There are quite a few natural remedies available that can replace the need to take a prescription drug. They’re often more affordable, they are usually more convenient, and when it involves things like massage, they are sometimes more enjoyable than taking a pill!
For example, a few prescription drugs and their natural remedies include:
- Pain killers, like hydrocodone and Vicodin, may be replaced by a chiropractor or acupuncturist
- Statins for high cholesterol can be replaced with a better diet
- Lisinopril for high blood pressure can be replaced by increasing your intake of potassium and magnesium
- Omeprazole for acid reflux can be replaced by some herbal teas
Even if it isn’t more natural, it’s also possible that over-the-counter medication may also work, which is not only more affordable, it’s more convenient to buy because it doesn’t require a prescription from your doctor.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Side Effects?
All prescription drugs that are approved by the FDA offer some benefit. However, that doesn’t mean the benefits it offers outweigh the side effects.
Some prescriptions come with some serious side effects that you may not be interested in experiencing. From an upset stomach to diarrhea, tiredness, and even heart issues, you may realize that the prescription has the potential to cause more problems than it fixes. It’s worth asking if there are any alternatives that come with fewer side effects.
How Effective Is It?
All medication that is approved for doctors to prescribe to patients is effective, but that doesn’t mean they all have the same level of effectiveness. Some can greatly impact your life in positive ways, while others you may barely even notice a difference. In that case, it may not be worth taking the medication at all.
In other cases, one medication may need to be taken in larger and larger quantities over time, while others may need to be paired with additional medications in order to boost effectiveness. It’s important to understand these details so you know exactly what you’re getting into when you take a new medication.
How Easy Is It to Take?
Taking pills can be annoying, but it is arguably the easiest way to take medication. Unfortunately, there are many other ways to take medications, some of which you may not be willing to do on your own.
For example, some have to be injected, and some have to be injected in specific ways or in specific areas of the body. Some have to go in the eye or the ear, while others may have to be placed in very private areas.
Make sure you’re comfortable with how to take the medication before you agree to take it.
Does It Interact With Other Medications?
Many patients make the mistake of thinking that their doctor wouldn’t prescribe something that doesn’t interact with another medication they’re taking. The truth is that unless you provide your doctor with a complete list of your medications, chances are, they don’t know exactly what you take.
Make sure they know the medications you take, which includes any supplements, so they don’t prescribe anything that can have a potentially dangerous interaction.
Talk to your pharmacist too. They know exactly what you take and can tell you if a new prescription is safe. They can also tell you what to stay away from in the pharmacy so you don’t accidentally take an over-the-counter drug that interacts badly with your prescription.
How Easy Is It to Stop Taking the Drug?
You may be ready to ease your current symptoms, but what does it mean for you in the long term? Many medications can’t be stopped abruptly without affecting your health, which means that once you start, you won’t be able to stop easily.
Is the prescription something you’re willing to take for the long term? Do you know exactly what it will take if you and your doctor determine that you no longer need to take the medication? You may discover a certain drug is a lot more potent than you thought, making you think twice about taking it.
Don’t just agree to take whatever prescription the doctor orders. Be curious about each drug that may potentially go into your body. Not only will taking control of your medications keep you safe and healthy, you may also discover alternatives that can help you save time and money without all the side effects of hard drugs.