Modern medical science has progressed further in the past century than ancient physicians probably thought it ever would. New drugs have completely wiped out what would’ve otherwise been detrimental epidemics, so prescription drugs are a necessity in the modern world. It’s important to remember, however, that some people do experience negative side effects from certain pharmaceuticals. Certain drugs have even been proven to put you more in harm’s way then before you took them, as with the blood thinner Pradaxa. With this in mind, it is imperative for every person to do five things before beginning a new drug regimen prescribed by their doctor.
1 Ask Doctor about Drug Interactions
One of the main causes of medical malpractice lawsuits is when doctors prescribe drugs that interact dangerously with other medications that the patient is already taking. It’s definitely up to the doctor to ensure that there won’t be any interactions.
If a person dies from a negative interaction, however, it doesn’t really matter to them who was responsible. This is why every patient should ask their doctor about the medicine’s potential interactions with drugs that they’re already on, and this includes over-the-counter medicines.
2 Ask Pharmacist about Interactions and Side Effects
Even if a patient gets reassured by their doctor that they’ll have no harsh interactions with other drugs, it never hurts to double check with the pharmacist. Also, it’s important to ask the pharmacist about all possible side effects related to taking the medication.
A list of these side effects should be kept on hand; this will ensure that an individual takes note of them right away. Most drugs have the potential for known side effects, so knowing the possibilities may prevent a tragedy.
3 Do Your Own Research
One of the best things a patient can do before taking a new drug is a little research. It’s smart to check and see if there have been any lawsuits or class actions against the manufacturer of the drug as is the case in Pradaxa litigation. This is a huge red flag and one you wouldn’t be apt to ignore.
It’s also pertinent to see how long the drug has been on the market. The ideal time for a drug to be on the market is seven years; this is usually enough time for doctors to notice any serious issues with a medicine. If the medication hasn’t been out very long and there are other options for treatment, it may be best to go with the other options.
4 Keep Follow up Appointments
When starting new prescription drugs, doctors often want to monitor the progress of their patients. This will allow them to observe any potential side effects and take notice if the drug isn’t having its intended effect. It’s also important to ask the physician how long it will be before results should be noticeable. This will allow a patient to make a follow up appointment immediately if something isn’t going right.
5 Write a Symptom Diary
A symptom diary will make life much easier on the patient and their doctor during follow up visits. This journal should have the dates a medication is taken, the times of the day it’s taken and other details that may be important to the physician. This includes how the drug makes the patient feel and if they experience even minor side effects or changes in behavior after starting the medication. This journal should then be taken to every doctor follow up.
Pharmaceuticals can literally do miracles. Prescription drugs are capable of accomplishing anything from making a person stop smoking to saving their life in the event of a heart attack. No one is ever going to legitimately claim that modern medicine isn’t good for humankind, but it’s always still advisable to take a few extra precautions when taking these drugs. In the end, these extra steps can increase the chance that a prescribed pharmaceutical will only do what it’s intended to do.