National Consumers League

Changing drugs? Talk to your doc!


by Rebecca Burkholder

For many of us, January is a time for change. New diets, new routines, new habits. For some of us, the new year may also see changes to our health insurance plans, which may mean facing the confusing process of switching from one medicine to a similar drug.

So, if you find yourself in this situation, be sure to talk to your doctor what you might expect to see the next time you go to fill your Rx at the pharmacy counter.

  • Why am I being switched? Is my current medicine working well?
  • Will the new drug work better? Will it lower my costs?
  • How can I tell if it is working?
  • Will I need to do anything differently – take it more or less often, at different times, or with or without food?
  • Are there any side effects? What about interactions with other drugs, dietary supplements, or foods?

In addition to asking questions, you should pay attention to how the new meds are working. Look for changes in symptoms or side effects. Keep track, and tell your doctor what you notice.

The month of January of NCL’s “2008 Consumer Calendar: Do We Have Tips for You!” has more tips, sponsored by Pfizer Inc., to help consumers who may be switching medications.