– Question –
Mom’s doctor wants to prescribe new medicine for her. I worry that she takes too many medications already and that adding another isn’t actually going to be good for her. Or that she’ll get bad side effects – that’s happened before.
I know the doctor is the expert, but a lot of times I think they’re not really paying attention when I’m worried or have questions about new medicine. What should I do?
– Answer –
You’re right to be concerned and, as her caregiver, you have the right to have your questions answered. Doctors should take your concerns seriously and discuss the risks and benefits of the new medicine with you.
Proceed with caution
There are always pros and cons to any medication. Sometimes it’s a no brainer (prevents serious blood clots that lead to stroke and has minimal side effects) and other times it’s not as clear cut (this may improve her pain, but it might not work and the side effects could be serious).
Ask about the tradeoffs and make sure you understand the doctor’s explanation. If it’s complicated, ask them to go through it again more slowly. Don’t be embarrassed or shy – this is their job! And your Mom’s health needs to be taken very seriously!
Before adding new medicine
Sometimes adding new medicine is absolutely the right thing to do. But a responsible doctor should always review her full list of current medication, vitamins, and supplements before adding anything. That way, there’s less risk of serious drug interactions.
The doctor should always explain the possible side effects you should watch for and tell you what to do if you notice new symptoms or odd behavior. Keeping a close watch is especially important in the first few weeks after starting the medicine.
Meds aren’t always the answer
If the risks sound a lot bigger than the benefit, politely (but firmly) ask the doctor if there are any non-drug ways they can think of to improve the situation. Ask if the problem could be caused by something that could be managed with lifestyle changes.
As an example, this nursing home was able to improve serious behavior problems in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia without using medication!
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Google Images