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    Smart Decisions: Know Your Options

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    Decisions About Medicines

    See a list of Decision Points about medicines. Decision Points are designed to guide you through key health decisions, combining medical information with your personal values to make a wise health decision.

    The first rule of medicines is to know why you need each medicine before you use it.

    Learn the facts

    • What is the name of the medicine, and why do you need it?
    • How long does it take to work?
    • How long will you need to take it?
    • How and when do you take it (for example, with food or on an empty stomach)?
    • Are there nondrug options?

    Use this medicine information form(What is a PDF document?) to help you.

    Consider the risks and benefits

    • How much will this medicine help?
    • Are there side effects or other risks?
    • Could this medicine interact with other medicines or herbal supplements that you currently take?

    Ask about costs

    • How much does the medicine cost?
    • Is a generic form of the medicine available and appropriate for you?
    • Is there a similar medicine that will work almost as well and cost less?
    • Can you start with a prescription for a few days to make sure the medicine agrees with you?

    Talk to your doctor

    • What are your concerns about the medicine?
    • What do you expect the medicine to do? Are your expectations realistic?
    • What other prescription and nonprescription medicines are you taking?
    • Do you want to try the medicine or try other ways of treating the problem?

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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