Your Doctor Asks You This Question All The Time. Why Can't You Ever Answer It?
A while back, I had a couple medical issues come up at the same time. I had to see multiple doctors and specialists, and each would ask the same thing: "What medications are you on?"
Right now, could you accurately tell your doctor what medications you're on?
If you can't, you have plenty of company. But that doesn't make it a party. You might think, "Well, that's my doctor's job." It is, but your doctor can only track what they know.
You are the one thing your medical team has in common. So it's important that you keep a accurate, updated medication list to share with every doctor or specialist you see.
It doesn't hurt to include your emergency contact as well.
In a Canadian study, a hospital received an inaccurate medication list for new patients up to 2/3 of the time.
It also concluded that 41% of these errors were important and 22% could have hurt the patient. If the patient, their referring doctor, or their emergency contact had a full medication list, those errors could have been prevented.
Your medication list should be accurate.
It should include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and any herbal supplements. It should also include any medicated cream, sprays, patches, suppositories, inhalers, or other medical devices.
Your medication list should also be up to date.
If another doctor has in any way changed your medication regimen, your list should reflect that and you should update the members of your health care team the next time you see them.
You should trust your medical team enough to talk to them if you have concerns about your medications.
Especially if those concerns are enough for you to want to change your regimen. You may have good reasons to make changes, but making those changes on your own can be dangerous.
Don't be embarrassed to share adverse reactions, safety concerns, budget issues, or difficulties in regularly taking your medications. This is crucial information for your doctors, and they may be able to work with you to find a solution that keeps you healthy while addressing your concern.
If you're uncomfortable sharing this information with your practitioners, consider whether changing your providers might make it easier for you.
Remember, your medical team is there to keep you healthy, but they can't do it without YOU.
Check out this video by Dr. Mike Evans for more about how to keep yourself safe and your team informed.
Wondering how I keep track? I like the Medisafe app, which is available for free on Android and iOS.
If you're going to go the old-fashioned route, make sure your medication list includes:
- Medication name (including whether it's brand-name or generic)
- When the medication was added
- Why the medication was added
- Who added the medication
- How long you're supposed to take the medication
- The dosage prescribed and the dosage taken
- Any side effects (benign or adverse)
What do you use? What are you going to try? Tweet me and let me know.