St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Taking medicines - what to ask your doctor

    Many people take medicines every day. You might need to take medicine for an infection or to treat a chronic illness.

    Take charge of your health. Ask and learn about your medicines.

    Take Charge of Your Health

    Take the time to know about your medicine. Ask questions when you don't know the meaning of a word, or when instructions aren't clear. Write down the answers. Bring a family member or friend to the pharmacy or your doctor's visits to help you with all of the information.

    Get Information about Your New Medicines

    When your doctor prescribes a medicine, find out about it. Here are some questions you can ask:

    • What is the name of the medicine?
    • Why am I taking this medicine?
    • What is the name of the condition this medicine will treat?
    • How long will it take to work?
    • How should I store the medicine? Does it need to be refrigerated?
    • Can the pharmacist substitute a cheaper, generic form of the medicine?
    • Will the medicine create conflicts with other medicines I take?

    Find Out How to Take the Medicine

    Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about the right way to take your medicine. Here are some specific questions to ask:

    • When and how often should I take the medicine? As needed, or on a schedule?
    • Do I take medicine before, with, or between meals?
    • How long will I have to take it?

    Know What to Expect with the New Medicine

    Ask about how you will feel.

    • How will I feel once I start taking this medicine?
    • How will I know if this medicine is working?
    • What side effects might I expect? Should I report them?
    • Are there any lab tests to check the medicine's level or for any harmful side effects?

    Ask if this new medicine fits in with your other medicines.

    • Are there medicines or activities I should avoid when taking this medicine?
    • Will this medicine change how my other medicines work? Ask about both prescription and other the counter medicines.
    • Will this medicine change how any of my herbal or dietary supplements work?

    Ask if your new medicine interferes with eating or drinking.

    • Are there any foods that I should not drink or eat?
    • Can I drink alcohol when taking this medicine? How much?

    Ask other questions:

    • If I forget to take it, what should I do?
    • What should I do if I feel I want to stop taking this medicine? Is it safe to just stop?
    • Is it OK to eat or drink food before or after I take the medicine?

    When to Call the Doctor or Pharmacist

    • Call when you have questions or you are confused or uncertain about the directions for your medicine.
    • Call if you are having side effects from the medicine. Do not stop taking the medicine without telling your doctor. You might need a different dose or a different medicine.
    • Call if your medicine looks different than you expected.
    • Call if your refill medicine is different than what you usually get.


    Your medicine: Be smart. Be safe. Patient Guide. AHRQ Publication No. 11-0049-A, April 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD, and the National Council on Patient Information and Education, Rockville, MD. Accessed June 3, 2012.

    Taking medicines safely NIH senior health. Last reviewed January 2011. Accessed May 25, 2012.


          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

            Self Care

            Tests for Taking medicines - what to ask your doctor

            Review Date: 6/19/2012

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile