News release

Top 10 Questions to Ask About New Prescriptions

The new Nova Scotia Seniors' Pharmacare Health Education Committee has developed a list of Top 10 questions for seniors and others to ask their physician and pharmacist the next time they are prescribed a new medication.

"Studies show that about 50 per cent of medications are not taken properly," said Health Minister Jim Smith. "We want Nova Scotians to ask questions about the medications they are taking. It's important they know as much as they can about their medication so they take it properly and understand its benefits and possible side-effects."

A brochure from the health education committee was included in a Pharmacare mail-out this week. Here are the suggested questions to ask when a new medication is prescribed:

  • What is the name of this medication?
  • Why is it being prescribed for me?
  • When do I take it and for how long do I take it?
  • How will I know if this medication is working?
  • If I don't feel better, how long should I wait before talking to my pharmacist or physician?
  • What are the common side-effects and what should I do if I experience a side-effect?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Are there any foods, alcoholic beverages or non-prescription products that I should avoid?
  • When should I refill the prescription?
  • What else can I do to feel better?

It is also important for people to ask how the different medications they are taking will work together.

"Good communication among patients, pharmacists and physicians can help seniors achieve healthier lifestyles," said Dan Yakimchuk, a senior who is a member of the Pharmacare Health Education Committee and the Nova Scotia Seniors' Pharmacare board of directors. "Medications can help us feel better if we take them as prescribed. It is important to know about each medication we take."

The Pharmacare Health Education Committee was established in the spring of 1997. It consists of representatives from the Nova Scotia Seniors' Pharmacare board of directors, the Senior Citizens' Secretariat, the Department of Health, the Medical Society of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Pharmaceutical Society, the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Drug Manufacturers' Association and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association of Canada.

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Contact:

Sue McKeage
Department of Health 902-424-3581 E-mail:
ngr                   Feb. 6, 1998                 2:45 p.m.