I often hear from friends and family the comment, “You should be living in a bubble.” Yes, my allergies are on the extreme end. And yes, I have jumped at many different medications and remedies, offered by my doctors, to lessen my allergy symptoms without really asking questions.
I have discovered that this phenomenon of accepting a doctor’s recommendation, no questions asked, is quite common. We ask more questions when we shop for an appliance than we do where our health is concerned.
I must be a slow learner because it has taken me many years to realize I need to ask lots of questions when a doctor is prescribing a medication or procedure for me. I guess my eyes have been opened by the various medication side effects myself or family members have experienced. My family members, include my pets, who also have had moderate to severe side effects from medications.
Here are the questions I ask when I doctor makes a medication recommendation:
•What are the side effects? Don’t just give me the most common ones. Give me the whole list.
•Are there short-term and long-term side effects?
•As your patient, do you think this drug is a good fit for me?
•How long should I take this drug?
•Am I more likely to experience side effects the longer I take it?
•What are the drug interactions?
•How expensive is this drug? Are there generic versions and if so, are they the same?
•How long has it been on the market? (Some of the older allergy mediation are often safer and have fewer side effects.)
Next, go online and check out reviews of the recommended medication before deciding to take it. You may find in reading these reviews that your busy healthcare provider overlooked a few details about the suggested medication.
Remember antihistamines can cause more than the common drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, slow reaction time, and dry mouth, nose and eyes. Some lesser known side effects include:
•appetite loss or gain
•constipation or diarrhea
•impairment of thinking
•altered taste or smell
•irritability or anxiety