No matter what kind of health condition one lives with, it is important to be aware of all available treatment options. You may be on a medication but are unaware that another medication may be a better-suited option for you and your lifestyle. Many decisions go into finding the right medication. With medical research advancing every day, staying up to date on medications is something to talk to your primary health care provider about. Below are some topics to consider when thinking about switching to a new medication.
Thinking About Switching Medications?: #1 Side Effects
All medications can cause side effects so be sure to ask your doctor if there is anything in your medical history that would not allow you to take such a medication. Doctors can advise you on how to deal with common side effects but some side effects are very serious and require immediate medical attention. Be sure to understand all side effects and how to respond if an emergency occurs.
Thinking About Switching Medications?: #2 Cost and Formulary Coverage
There is no doubt that modern medicine is becoming more and more expensive. Most doctors do not know the costs of the different medications they prescribe. Depending on insurance, patients may commit to thousands of dollars worth of copays or bills without knowing it. Talk to an administrator staff that can help you find out before you commit to a certain course of action. Check if your new medication is on your formulary coverage. This list provides the most safe, effective drugs at the most reasonable cost.
Thinking About Switching Medications?: #3 Administration
It’s important to understand the administration and implications for effectiveness of a new medication. There are various administration routes available, each of which has associated advantages and disadvantages. If you are currently on a medication that needs to be injected but a new medication is now available to be taken orally, chances are you may want to switch. Being comfortable with the administration of your medication is desirable and will help you continue treatment for a longer period of time. Some routes of administration include:
- Oral route
- Injection route (intravenously, intramuscularly, intrathecally, or subcutaneouosly)
- Sublingual or buccal routes
- Rectal or vaginal route
- Ocular or otic route
- Nasal Route
- Inhalation or nebulization route
- Cutaneous route
- Transdermal route
Thinking About Switching Medications?: #4 Frequency/Duration
It is very important to take your new medication correctly to ensure that it gives you the help you need. You should know what to expect before you have a prescription filled. Make sure that you clearly understand how long you need to take the medication and if you need refills. Some medications are used for the short term, others for a lifetime. Knowing how long you will need to stay on a new medication can help you prepare yourself for a lifestyle change if necessary.