(LifeWire) - You've talked to your doctor about cholesterol, and now you have a prescription for cholesterol medication. But before you go to the pharmacy, there are some important questions you should ask.
According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, about 10% of all hospital admissions are due to people taking their medications inappropriately. Don't assume that you'll get all the information you need from your medication's packaging.
By having a conversation with your doctor about the prescription medication you're given, you can learn about the possibility of side effects, how to prevent them, and how to make sure you are getting the greatest benefit from your new medication. Side effects related to cholesterol medication vary greatly depending on the class of drug.
Here's a list of questions to ask your doctor when you begin taking a new anticholesterol medication:
- What is the name of the cholesterol medication and what type of drug is it?
- What is the goal that we are trying to achieve in my taking this medication?
- If that goal is reached, will I stop taking the medication or will I continue indefinitely?
- How many times per day do I take this medication?
- Does it matter if I take the drug in the morning, or evening, or with meals or on an empty stomach?
- If I forget to take my medication, how should I proceed?
- What are the possible side effects and how can I limit them?
- When should I call you if I experience a side effect?
- Are there herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs that interact with this medication?
- Is there any reason why I shouldn't purchase a 90-day or 120-day supply of this medication?
- How should I store this medication?
- Is there a generic version of this medication available and, if so, is there any reason to believe it would not be as effective as the brand-name version?
Bring a notebook and jot down your healthcare provider's responses to these questions. And if you have questions later, don't be afraid to call back and talk to a nurse at your doctor's office.
"Cholesterol Medications." americanheart.org. 15 Aug. 2008. American Heart Association. 20 Oct. 2008 <http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3044771>
"Consumer Center." nacds.org. 2008. National Association of Chain Drug Stores. 20 Oct. 2008 <http://www.nacds.org/wmspage.cfm?parm1=2626>