Medications….The Drugs YOU Take and Why You Take Them

To provide the best care, your doctor must understand you as a person and know what your life is like. How you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Unfortunately this is easier said then done. Over the years the doctor-patient relationship has changed. The doctor used to take the lead and the patient followed. Now in 2016 it now more of a partnership and the patient is in charge.

In my clinical experience I have noticed multiple common themes amongst many of my patients that can lead to inadequate health care. Medications are one of the most common themes I have come across. I have found that a multitude of patients do not know the drugs they take and why they take them, especially in the elderly population. I try to make it an effort when doing my yearly physical exams to talk about the medications that I have prescribed for them and answer any questions that they may have.

The doctor’s job in this Doctor-Patient Partnership is below:

  1. I go over why they are on the medication and what we are trying to achieve.
  2. The side effects of the medication.
  3. Some common interactions of the medication and making sure it does not cause harm to the patient.

The patients job in the this Doctor-Patient Partnership is below:

 I ask all of my patients to list their medications

 Your doctor needs to know about ALL the medications you take. Medications include

  • prescription drugs
  • over-the-counter (non-prescription example: Tylenol, Advil, Tums) drugs
  • vitamins, herbal remedies or supplements
  • laxatives
  • eye drops

In many incidences I ask some of my patients to bring all their medications in a bag to the visit. Most of the time I suggest making a list of their medications and bring it to the yearly physical. I always suggest putting their medications into their phone so they have it with them at all times especially if they have to go to the emergency room unexpectedly.

I also ask the patient to note Dosages, Frequency, and Side Effects.

It is very important to write down how much you take and how often you take it. Make sure to tell the doctor if a dose has changed or if you are taking a new medicine since your last visit.

The doctor needs to know everything you take because sometimes medicines cause problems when taken together. Also, sometimes a medicine you take for one health problem, like a headache, can cause another health problem to get worse.

Finally I ask my patients to write down any medication allergies they have and any bad side effects they have had with the medicines they take. I also like to know which medications work best for them!

As you can see this Doctor-Patient Relationship requires more work for the patient then the doctor when it comes to medications. Always feel free to ask your doctor questions about your medications but the foremost person for this is still the pharmacist who should be working closely with your doctor.

Cheers to 2017 and having a passion for your health and body! You only have one body to live in so look after it with excellence and know every medication your putting into your body and why.

Love my life and yours,

Dr. Eppinga AKA Dr. Pringles but only if you are under the age of 5! (In clinic I had the cutest 4 year old girl scream and call me Dr. Pringles and thought she was getting some chips after the visit 🙂 ).