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Questions Are the Answer, Make Sure You Know Your Medications

An important part of managing your own health is to make sure you know all the medications you are taking and why you are taking them. Knowing about your medications can help prevent potentially dangerous mistakes, such as taking the wrong medication, taking the wrong amount of medication, or taking a medication that has a bad interaction with another medication you are they are taking. There are simple steps you can take to help stop medication mistakes. Every time you get a new prescription, make sure you get the answers to these five questions:

1. What is the name of the medication? (both brand and generic)

2. Why am I taking it?

3. How much do I take? (Strength? How much? How often? How long?)

4. What do I do if I miss a dose?

5. What are the most common side effects?

If you do not have time to ask your doctor these questions, others on your care team can give you the answers! Your nurse, physician assistant, or pharmacist can help. It is also a good idea to write down the answers to these questions for future reference.

AARP has free medication records available to help you keep track of your medication information. If you would like a free medication record or an easy to carry list of these questions to bring to your visits with health care providers, email your request to

You can also download a copy of these questions to bring to your next office visit.

Because AARP cares about your health, we have become part of Quality Counts for ME, a statewide effort working to improve healthcare quality in the state. For more information about Quality Counts for ME, please visit

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