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Asking the right questions about your child’s prescription

When it comes to your child’s prescription medications, the long, technical names of the drugs may confuse you. Even if you see a pediatrician that you trust, you should be prepared to manage your child's prescriptions. There are many questions you should ask about your child’s prescriptions before leaving the pediatrician’s office and heading to the pharmacy. Below are a few key questions to keep in mind.

The dosage

Although the dosage will be printed on the label of the prescription, you should always confirm the amount with your child’s doctor, just to make sure that you fully understand the dosage and that the label was printed correctly.

How will the prescription help?

Ask the doctor to explain exactly what the medicine is supposed to accomplish and how it works. That way, you will know what to keep an eye out for when or if the medicine does not work effectively.

Before administering the prescription

Some medications have special requirements. For example, maybe it is best that your child eats a meal before taking a prescription in order to avoid dizziness, nausea or fatigue. Or perhaps your child should drink a full glass of water before taking the medication.

Avoiding activities, medications, foods and beverages

It is important that you know how particular activities, other medications, foods and beverages interact with your child’s prescription. Certain medications should never be mixed together because they may produce negative side effects. Your child may also need to avoid some high-intensity activities (like soccer or volleyball) while taking prescriptions.

Side effects

Normally, your doctor will inform you of any side effects, such as sleepiness or irritability, associated with your child’s prescriptions. However, it’s always important to be aware of these negative side effects so that you are prepared to deal with them, if they occur.

Missing a dose

In the event that your child misses a daily dose of medication or that you accidentally give your child too much, you should be aware of what might occur and what you should do. You should never assume that, just because your child misses a dose, you should give your child double the amount of medication next time.

Written information about the prescription

Even after you have asked your doctor questions about your child’s prescriptions, it never hurts to have a brochure handy as a quick reference guide.

Most people do not run into serious problems with prescription medications, but it’s always better to be on the safe side when it comes to your child’s safety and your peace of mind.

Download the question sheet seen above to print off and take with you to your doctor's appointment.

Learn how to Protect Your Child from Medical Errors, and for your own health, check out this helpful list with suggestions about making the most of your visits to your primary care physician.

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