In the event that you are prescribed psychiatric medication there are a few things that your doctor needs to know. You should disclose your complete medical history, family history, information about other medications you take (this includes over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements), and any information on allergies you may have. This information will allow your doctor to find medication that will work best for you with the limited amount of side effects and drug interactions.
There are some questions that you should have on hand to discuss with your doctor when he prescribes the medication. This will allow you to understand what you’re taking and limit any complications from the medication.
The first question you should ask your doctor is what is the name of the medication. You need to know what medication you’re taking so that should you need to go see your regular physician for any illness or physical you can tell them what medications you are taking. It is also important to understand the name of the medication you take to ensure that there is no mixup at the pharmacy.
What is the medication supposed to do?
You need to understand how the medication is supposed to work. If you do not understand how the medication works you will not know if it is working correctly for your not. When you’re finding out how the medication works, you should also find out how long it may take to be effective. This time span will give you a reasonable amount of time to know whether or not the medication is working for you before you go back to your doctor.
What is the dosage?
You need to understand the dosage so that you are sure not to take too much or too little of the medication. Some medications, if taken in to great of a dosage can be harmful. If you take too little, the medication may not be effective.
What time of day and how should I take the medication?
Some medication should be taken in the morning and some in the evening. To know the best way to take this medication, you need to know what time of day works best for you. Your doctor will have that information. You also need to know if the medication needs to be taken on a full or empty stomach as some medications may cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
How should I stop taking the medication?
Some psychiatric medications will cause withdrawals if used stop them abruptly. When it is time for you to come off the medication your doctor will tell you how to safely stop taking it. You need to know in advance what problems may arise should you stop taking the medication abruptly.
When should I stop taking the medication?
You need to know how long you’re supposed to take the medication. While psychiatric medications vary from person to person, your doctor should have an estimated idea of how long he plans on keeping you on the medication.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Some medications should be taken as soon as you realize you missed your dose. However, if you take multiple doses in a day you may need to just skip that dose and continue taking your medication as normal.
Are there any foods or drinks I need to avoid?
Some psychiatric medications such as MAOIs react badly when mixed with certain types of food. Should you eat food with tyramine in it while taking MAOIs, you could experience a sharp increase in blood pressure and possible stroke. Your doctor will have a list of foods that contain this chemical to allow you to avoid any possible drug interactions.
Will this medication interact with other medications?
As with foods, there are some medications that react poorly with psychiatric medications. Your doctor will have a list of over-the-counter, vitamin, and supplement medications that you should avoid taking. You should also let him know of any prescription medication that you are taking.
Is it safe to drink alcohol?
There are some psychiatric medications in which you should avoid alcohol consumption altogether. Other psychiatric medications may not react as poorly when mixed with alcohol. You should discuss your alcohol prior to your doctor writing a prescription. Be honest with how much you drink and how often to avoid any issues.
What are the possible side effects?
Every medication reacts differently and not everyone reacts the same way. You need to know what the list of common side effects are so that you will know if you are experiencing a typical side effect or a more rare and serious side effect. The typical side effects usually go away after a few days. However, a more rare or serious side effect should be reported immediately as you may need medical attention. You should also ask your doctor what to do if you experience any of the side effects. He may want to be notified in the event that the side effects did not go away after certain amount of time.