What should I ask my doctor about a prescription?

It’s important to understand the opioid or other medication you’re being prescribed, how it can help you, and how to properly take it. Here are some questions to ask your doctor when he or she prescribes a medication:

  • Can I become dependent on this medication?
  • Can I become addicted to this medication?
  • What does the medication do?
  • Why are you suggesting this particular prescription?
  • How, when and for how long should I take it?
  • What are the side effects? Are they minor or major? Are they common?
  • Does the medication contain anything that may cause an allergic reaction?
  • Have long-term studies been done on this drug?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
  • Is this dosage specific for me, or is it a one-dose-fits-all dosage?
  • Can I start out at a lower dosage and adjust if needed?
  • Is there anything I should avoid eating or drinking while taking this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose or take a dose incorrectly?
  • What are my options if I do not want to take a medication?
  • How should I store my medication and how long can I keep it? (See Safe Storage for additional information.)

Remember, there are effective medications available that are non-narcotic. Talk with your prescribing medical professional about whether you should consider alternatives available to you and your family.