by Linda J. Austin


Did you get your homework done? Keeping track of medications, changes in dosages and which doctor prescribed what can get very confusing. The hardest part is making the list. Yes, it takes time but it can also save time. I suggest you keep a copy on your computer and update it as things change. Writing it out on lined paper is my preference and also my downfall if I misplace it. So, keep a notebook - a regular sized notebook & put important things like the medication list in there. And if you're at a loss as to what should be in this notebook, I have a lot more forms to save you time, but we'll talk of those in other newsletters. Now, lets look at that homework.


Do you have prescription coverage? How much does it cost you? Is it an additional amount per month or included in your monthly insurance premium? Do you have a co-payment or a deductible on your prescriptions? If you don't know the answers to these questions, if you can't figure out your policy, call your insurance agent, or insurance company.

How many doctors prescribe medications for you? Do they know what other medications you are taking? If you aren't sure, photocopy (or print out) your medications list and give it to the receptionist on your next visit. You can also take the original list and ask them to photocopy it for your file. Make sure you get your list back though.

Do you get your prescriptions filled at several different places? It's a good idea to shop around for the best price, but then you need to settle down with one pharmacy. Having your prescriptions filled in one place will protect you - all the medicines you take are in the computer system. The system automatically checks for interactions between drugs. If a problem shows up, the pharmacist calls the doctor and works things out. Remember - once you buy medicine - there's no exchange, no return, no refund.


Ask the doctor for a sample - don't be bashful. This is very useful especially if you have a lot of allergies.

If the doctor doesn't have any samples - ask for 2 prescriptions - one for a day's worth of medication - and another for the remainder. This may make the cost a little higher on a per pill basis, but you won't be throwing away money and drugs like I did if you have an allergic reaction.

As the doctor if she will double the dosage so that you can cut pills in half. There was a time when some Health Maintenance Organizations would only pay for prescriptions written this way. The drug companies cannot guarantee that if you cut a 20 mg pill in half, that each half will have 10 mg of active ingredient in it. Ask your doctor if cutting pills in half is okay. Sometimes the pharmacy will cut the pills for you.


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