When your doctor prescribes a new medication or line of treatment, it is based on their diagnosis and understanding of the ailment. But one thing that patients don’t realise is that the conversation between a doctor and a patient is a two-way street. You are free to ask your doctor questions about the medication they are prescribing and their thoughts about your healing process.

You could also clarify your doubts about your medication from your pharmacist. It is advisable to choose your pharmacist as carefully as choose your doctor. At Medkart, all our stores have qualified staff who take the time to understand the prescribed medication and discuss the available options (generic and non-generic) with the patient.

We have listed down 7 questions that you should ask your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing medicine and starting a new line of treatment –

1. What is the Medication Called & What is it Used For?
Every medication has two names, one common (also known as generic) and the other is the brand name. Usually, doctors in India only mention the brand name on their prescription, but that might make it difficult to find an alternative – if that brand is not available.
Ask your doctor about the common name of the medicine or the salt name. It will enable your pharmacist to find alternatives if needed. Also, ask them to explain the use of the medication. It is good to know what you can expect from the medicine.
2. How am I Supposed to Take the Medication?
Always ensure that you understand how to take your medicines. Not taking the medicine as directed by the doctor may be detrimental to your health and safety. Ask if the medicine may make you feel drowsy, or cause digestion problems if taken without food. Be clear about the frequency and timing of the medication.
3. Are There Any Alternatives to This Medication?
There are many reasons why your doctor may prescribe one brand/variant of medicine over the other. It could be related to the drugs’ interaction with other medicines, or the side effects it may produce. Discuss the reason why the doctor chose this medicine for your ailment. Ask your doctor if there are any alternatives to the medicine they have written.
At Medkart, we suggest generic alternatives to branded medicines – especially to those patients who may have financial constraints.
4. Should I Avoid any Activities or Foods When Taking This Medicine?
Medicines can produce side effects such as fatigue, drowsiness, or indigestion. Sometimes, these side effects could be a result of an interaction of the drug with some foods, hormones, or other medicines. Ask your doctor if you need to modify your diet in any way when taking this medication. Also clarify if you need to avoid certain activities such as driving, drinking, operating machinery, or heavy exercise during this time.
5. How Long Does it Take for This Medication to Take Effect?
The timeframe in which your medicine starts working depends on your ailment, and the nature of the drug prescribed. Talk to your doctor about how soon you can expect to feel an improvement in your condition and what must be done if you don’t.
6. What Should I do if I Miss a Dose?
In many cases, a missed dose doesn’t make much of a difference. But sometimes, one missed dose can make things difficult. For example, if you are taking birth control pills and you miss a dose, you could get pregnant. In other cases, missing a dose may reduce a medicine’s effectiveness.
Go over all the instructions with your doctor and ensure that you take all your doses on time. It is recommended that you ask your doctor about the implications of missing a dose.
Whether you are undergoing treatment for a chronic ailment or an infection. You should take charge of your health. Ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions about your medication and discuss your health condition in detail. Don’t forget to mention any other medications, over-the-counter medicines, or herbal supplements that you may be taking.
Asking questions is the only way to understand your treatment and medication better. At Medkart stores, we encourage customers to ask questions and clarify their doubts before buying any medicines.
—eom.