Posts Tagged ‘medications’

Taking Your Medication May Just Save Your Life-tips to stay on your medication and stay healthy

August 3, 2015

Nearly two-thirds of all patients don’t take their medication as the doctor prescribed and a similar percentage don’t refill their prescriptions in a timely fashion. This problem with medication is linked to more than a third of medicine-related hospitalizations and nearly 125,000 deaths each year
Tried-and-true methods, plus the latest electronic reminders and gadgets.
Taking medications as your doctor prescribes—known as medication compliance—is a key to staying healthy and managing chronic symptoms. But noncompliance is a serious public health problem.

Why it happens
There are a number of reasons why people find it hard to stay on medication regimens prescribed by their doctors. Cost is one of the biggest. People are prescribed a brand-name drug that they can’t afford, but a more affordable generic may be just as effective. Other reasons for noncomplince include medication side effects that people don’t like, or a lack of understanding about why a medication is necessary for good health. Forgetfulness especially in the elderly is also a common problem that can sabotage a medication routine.
Tips and strategies
When your doctor hands you a prescription, make sure you understand what it’s for, what the name of the drug is, how much you need to take and when, and what will happen to you if you don’t take it. Write down the information, ask for a printout, or bring a buddy or a partner to act as your scribe or advocate.
If a drug cost is too high for you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about more affordable options, such as generic drugs. A number of large chain stores (Walmart, Target, Kroger) offer 30- and 90-day supplies of dozens of generic drugs for as low as $4 and $10. If you must stick to a brand-name drug, shop around for prices, and see if you qualify for prescription assistance programs through the drug’s manufacturer. One useful website is GoodRx.com, which offers the opportunity to comparison shop for drug prices, as well as links to coupons.
If forgetfulness or a busy lifestyle keeps you from sticking to a medication routine, you may need to develop a strategy to stay on schedule. Suggestions include asking for reminders from family; using a seven-day pillbox; setting an alarm on your watch, phone, or clock; making a chart that shows when to take your medicine; keeping track of when you take medications in a journal; and taking a dose at the same time each day—perhaps even linking it to another daily activity, like brushing your teeth. It may also help to ask your doctor if it’s possible to reduce the number of medications by eliminating any that aren’t absolutely necessary, or to see whether combination drugs, which include two or more active ingredients in one pill, are available for your condition.
Technology, too
Computers, smartphones, and other gadgets can help improve medication adherence. Consumers can choose from such devices as automatic pill dispensers that pop out the right pills at the right times; pillboxes with timers and alarms; electronic caps that fit on prescription vials and beep when it’s time to take a medication, then record when the cap was removed, indicating that a pill was taken; and applications for computers and smartphones that can organize pill information and remind you when to take them.
Pharmacies and even insurance companies are also using technology to improve medication adherence. Some offer programs to call and remind you to get a prescription refilled, or programs that estimate when you’ll finish a medication and automatically refill the prescription, then call to remind you. Pharmacies also offer bubble or blister packs that organize several different medications into morning, afternoon, and evening packages, so you don’t have to open numerous pill bottles.
On the cutting edge is technology built right into packaging and even into pills themselves. Both can transmit signals about when you’ve taken your medications. “These aren’t widely available and are still being tested. But one day a lot of these systems could be able to integrate with your physician, all with the goal of improving adherence and health.

Bottom Line: It is important that patients take their prescription medication as directed by their physician. Noncompliance can significantly impact your health and well being. Use some of the strategies that I have outlined in this blog.

Prescribed Pills – Don’t Take Two and Then Call in the Morning!

January 4, 2015

Millions of Americans take prescribed medications. Yet few patients ask about the medications, the purpose, if there are drug interactions with their existing medications, the cost, and most important of all, the side effects of the medications. This blog will discuss the questions you should ask your doctor when you are given a new prescription.

One study reported that doctors spent an average of 12 seconds talking about a new medication’s side effects, and in another report, fewer than 50% of physicians covered the topic of side effects at all.

Luckily, doctors love to answer questions. If you can guide the conversation with relevant questions, you’ll (1) get better information, (2) participate in the decision, and (3) leave with confidence instead of confusion about your new prescription.
Before you walk out the door with that new prescription I suggest that you do the following:
• Ask for the generic name as well as the trade name of the medication?
• What does it do? (conditions it treats, how it works)
• What are the benefits? For example:
Does it just lower your blood sugar or cholesterol, or has it actually been shown to prevent strokes, heart attacks, or other health events? There are some drugs that just change your lab results without altering your health risks and you may not want to treat your numbers on a lab report.
How many people taking the drug does it actually help? (Drugs have varying rates of response — for example, 50% for many anti depressant meds.)
What are the risks?
How many people taking the drug have side effects?
What side effects are common? Are they temporary?
Any severe side effects?
What side effects should you call your doctor about if you have them?
Are there alternatives?
◦ Other types of medications
◦ Drug-free alternatives. (Exercise is more effective than drugs at reducing your risk of death from certain causes.)
How do you take it?
Does it interact with any of your current health conditions, other medications, supplements, foods, or alcohol?
Timing: How long does it take to start working? Can you stop taking it if you feel better?
What if you miss a dose?
Is any monitoring required? (Some medications can affect kidney function, for example, so it’s checked periodically with a blood test.)
How much does it cost? Is there a generic version available?

Bottom Line: If you are armed with these questions and ask your doctor and get answers to these important questions, then you will be a better informed and a healthier patient.

What if I think my medicine is affecting my sex life?

October 22, 2014

In the previous blog I discussed the relationship between medications and sexual performance. This blog will make suggestions on how to approach your doctor and what are some of the options when drugs\medications impact your sexual performance.  If you are at all worried that your medicine may be affecting your ability to have sex, consult with your physician who prescribed the medication.

Do not stop taking your medicine without first talking to your doctor.

Do not be put off seeking help. Your quality of life is important, particularly if you are being treated for something like high blood pressure, which often has no symptoms and can require lifelong treatment.

Treatment of high blood pressure

  • Impotence seems to be less of a problem with ACE inhibitors such as enalapril.
  • Calcium channel blockers and alpha-blockers cause fewer sexual problems than diuretics (water tablets) or beta-blockers.
  • Loop diuretics such as furosemide have a lower risk of impotence than thiazide diuretics.

Treatment of depression

  • SSRIs cause the highest frequency of sexual dysfunction, followed by MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) and then tricyclic antidepressants.

Treatment of high cholesterol levels

  • Not all statins are associated with sexual problems. Even in those that are, the risk of developing such problems is very low.
  • Statins may be less likely to cause impotence than fibrates.

Bottom Line: Your doctor may switch you to another medicine in the same class, i.e., that acts in a similar way, in the hope that the new one will not cause the same side effects.

Alternatively, your doctor may try a different type (class) of medicine altogether, providing it is suitable for you to take.

Your doctor may also adjust the dosage and prescribe a lower dose which may have the desired effect on your blood pressure or your depression and not have the unwanted side effects of ED or lowering the testosterone level. The real bottom line is to speak to your physician to help with your medications and preserve your sexual performance.

Medicines and Your Performance In the Bedroom

October 22, 2014

There are hundreds of medicines, some commonly used drugs, that can affect a man’s sex life and sexual performance.  Many of these drugs are necessary for treatment of depression and hypertension and shouldn’t be stopped.  This blog will discuss the causes of medications and deterioration of sex drive and sexual performance.

How can medicines affect sexual function?

The mechanism of sexual function involves a complex coordination of hormones, chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin) and the sexual organs. In general:

  • dopamine increases sexual function
  • serotonin inhibits sexual function
  • the hormone testosterone is important, as are the blood vessels supplying the penis are also involved in producing an erection.

A medicine can therefore affect sexual function in several ways.

Libido or sex drive

Sex drive is influenced by reproductive hormones, particularly testosterone, which is required for sexual arousal.

Medicines that reduce the testosterone level or block its effects are likely to reduce sex drive.

Libido is also affected by your general emotional and physical health. Medicines that affect any of these aspects, even indirectly by causing drowsiness, lethargy, weight gain or confusion, have the potential to reduce your sex drive.

An erection is the result of coordination between nerves, hormones, blood vessels and psychological factors. This means there are many areas where things can go wrong.

Medicines that have a physical effect on the blood vessels in the penis, those drugs that act on the brain or interfere with hormone levels (particularly testosterone) or affect the transmission of nerve messages, can all cause impotence.

Ejaculation is a complex reflex process that involves the activation of alpha receptors in the prostate gland and seminal vesicles.

Medicines that block alpha-receptors can interfere with ejaculation.

During ejaculation, increased alpha-receptor activation closes the bladder neck, facilitating the normal flow of semen out of the penis.

If this mechanism is disrupted, it results in retrograde ejaculation, with semen flowing along the path of least resistance from the urethra up into the bladder.

Various chemicals in the brain are also involved in orgasm and ejaculation, and medicines that affect these chemicals can also cause ejaculatory disturbances.

The most widely prescribed centrally acting agents that affect ejaculation are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants.

Antidepressants are the medicines most frequently implicated in causing sexual dysfunction. This is because they work by altering levels of chemicals in the brain. In particular, SSRIs increase serotonin levels, which inhibits sexual function.

Blood pressure lowering (antihypertensive) medicines are also implicated, although the mechanism by which they cause sexual problems will vary from medicine to medicine.

The table of medicines below lists the sexual side effects that some people have reported during their use.

.

Antidepressants Main use Possible effect on sexual function
MAOI antidepressants (eg moclobemide, phenelzine) Depression Decreased sex drive, impotence, delayed orgasm, ejaculatory disturbances
SSRI antidepressants (eg fluoxetine) Depression Decreased sex drive, impotence, delayed or absent orgasm, ejaculatory disturbances
Tricyclic antidepressants (eg amitryptiline) Depression Decreased sex drive, impotence, delayed or absent orgasm, ejaculatory disturbances
Antiepileptics Main use Possible effect on sexual function
Carbamazepine Epilepsy Impotence
Antihypertensives Main use Possible effect on sexual function
ACE inhibitors (eg enalapril, lisinopril) High blood pressure, heart failure Impotence
Alpha-blockers (eg prazosin, doxazosin) High blood pressure, enlarged prostate Impotence, ejaculatory disturbances
Beta-blockers (eg atenolol, propranolol and including timolol eye drops) High blood pressure, angina, glaucoma Impotence
Calcium channel blockers (eg verapamil, nifedipine) High blood pressure, angina Impotence
Clonidine High blood pressure Impotence, decreased sex drive, delayed or failure of ejaculation
Methyldopa High blood pressure Impotence, decreased sex drive, ejaculatory failure
Thiazide diuretics (eg bendroflumethiazide) High blood pressure Impotence
Antipsychotics Main use Possible effect on sexual function
Phenothiazines (eg chlorpromazine, thioridazine) Psychotic illness Ejaculatory disturbances, decreased sex drive, impotence
Risperidone Psychotic illness Impotence, ejaculatory disturbances
Cholesterol lowering medicines Main use Possible effect on sexual function
Fibrates (eg clofibrate, gemfibrozil) High cholesterol Impotence
Statins (eg simvastatin) High cholesterol Impotence
Other Main use Possible effect on sexual function
Benzodiazepines Anxiety and insomnia Decreased sex drive
Cimetidine Peptic ulcers, acid reflux disease Decreased sex drive, impotence
Cyproterone acetate Prostate cancer Decreased libido, impotence, reduced volume of ejaculation
Disulfiram Alcohol withdrawal Decreased sex drive
Finasteride Enlarged prostate Impotence, decreased sex drive, ejaculation disorders, reduced volume of ejaculation
Metoclopramide Nausea and vomiting Decreased sex drive, impotence
Omeprazole Peptic ulcers, acid reflux disease Impotence
Opioid painkillers (eg morphine) Severe pain Decreased sex drive, impotence
Prochlorperazine Nausea and vomiting Impotence
Propantheline Gut spasm Impotence
Spironolactone Heart failure, fluid retention Impotence, decreased sex drive

Bottom Line: This blog makes the connection between medications and sexual performance.  The next blog will discuss how to

approach your physician and what options are available for men who have sexual side effects from medications.

Don’t Let Your Medicines Make You Sick

February 2, 2014

Most middle aged Americans are taking 2-5 medications. These medications if not used properly, can add to your illness rather than improve your health. It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year as a result of errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications. Here are a few tips that you might consider regarding your medications that will lead to be better health.

Start by storing your medicines properly. Your bathroom is hot and humid and may cause your medications to deteriorate or loose their potency. It is best to store your medications in the kitchen or nightstand in the bedroom.

Inaccurate dosing. If the medications is a liquid and you are advised to take a teaspoon of medication and use a teaspoon from the kitchen drawer, the volume may vary from 2.5 ml to 7.3 ml. Therefore, it is advised that you use an accurate medication spoon which is available at every pharmacy.

Skip rope not doses. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and don’t skip doses or discontinue the medication as soon as your symptoms subside. This is particularly true for antibiotics and patients who have infections and stop their medications as soon as the symptoms are gone may find that they develop a worse infection because the bacteria develop resistance.

Storing your medications in one bottle is to be avoided. If you are like most Americans and have multiple medications, you can get confused if they are all in one container and take the wrong medication at the wrong time of day. I suggest that you keep the prescriptions in their original bottles with the labels placed on the bottles by the pharmacist.

Shop until you drop may happen if you are getting your medications from multiple sources. Instead of picking up medications at the neighborhood pharmacy and then filling another prescription at a pharmacy near work, may result in receiving medications that may interact and not have the desired effect or have the potential for side effects, I suggest that you obtain your medications from a single pharmacist who will have a log of your medications and will caution you about conflicting medications.

Final suggestion: Keep a record of your medical encounters and carry them in a folder to each doctor you see. This avoids duplicating tests, having drugs prescribed that cause an allergic reaction or a medication interaction. Also, carry this folder with you when you travel in case you need to see a doctor out of town or go to an emergency room that doesn’t have access to your medical records.

Bottom Line: Medications do make us better if used properly and taken as prescribed by our doctors. Be prudent about your medications and you will get well!

This blog was inspired and excerpted from an article, Avoid Common Medication Mistakes, by Jodi Helmer and appeared in June 2013 Costco Connection.

Tricks and Tips for Saving Money On Prescriptions

September 29, 2013

I truly recognize that prescription medicines are costly and often beyond the reach of many patients. I am often amazed at how expensive prescribed medications are and how the price is so variable from one pharmacy to another. Here are a few tricks and trips to save money on your prescription medications.

1. Price compare between pharmacies. Prices can be double and even triple from different pharmacies. Generic medicine prices vary more than branded/trademarked medicine prices.

For example a Z-pack 5 day antibiotic (generic) Costco- $11 OR Kmart- $55
Tricyclen birth control (generic) Target- $9 OR Osco- $33
Suggestion: call the pharmacies yourself and find out which one is offering the lowest price. The pharmacy tech or the pharmacist will give you the price over the phone. You need to be able to tell the pharmacist the strength and quantity of the medication.
Another idea: Take your “combo pill” as two separate pills. If you are taking a medication that is a combination of medicines, consider taking it as two separate pills. For example if you have an elnlarge prostate gland and the doctor has presicrbed a pill that combines two medications such as an alpha blocker and a pill to decrease the size of the prostate gland, you can ask the doctor to prescribe both drugs and you take two pills instead of one at a much reduced cost. If you are not sure if you are taking a “combo pill” try Googling the name to find out. Usually you can save money by taking the meds separately (even if there is a generic version of your combo med!)
Lotrel (generic) 10/20, #30 tabs – $81 per month OR amlodipine 10 mg, #30 tabs + benazepril 20 mg, #30 tabs= $8 + $6 = $14 per month.
Change the dosing schedule of your medication. If you are taking a medication that ends with “XL”, “XR”, “CD”, or “SR”- then you are probably taking a long acting, albeit expensive version of your medicine. Therefore, there is probably a short- acting generic version of your medication also available. The trade off would be that you might have to take a pill two or three times a day instead of once or twice a day but at a significant saving. If your doctor thinks this is appropriate for you, it could save you big bucks.
Rythmol SR 225 mg, #60 tabs (taken twice a day)- $367/month OR propafenone (generic Rythmol) 225 mg #100 tabs (taken three times a day)- $34/month

Bottom Line: Prescription medications are expensive. However, there are effective ways to reduce the costs without negatively impacting your health.

Online Drug Prescriptions-Caveat Imperator or Buyer Beware

December 7, 2012

Yes, you may save a few dollars buying your medications online but the savings come at a risk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration pointed out that some companies that dispense medications online are not pharmacies. They also point out that some of the medications are contaminated or contain the wrong active ingredient.

My advice: Be suspicious of sites that offer drastic price reductions. If it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t true. Be mindful of sites that send you unsolicited E-mails offering significant price reductions. Be wary of sites that ship from a foreign country like China or India. You also want to be careful if the online source doesn’t ask for a doctor’s prescription.

For more information go to FDA site, BeSafeRx.com at http://www.fda.gov/BeSafeRx or talk to your doctor before going online for your medications.

Preparing For Your Doctor Visit-10 Suggestions

October 25, 2012

Most patients visit their doctor and bring a plastic bag of their medications.  For most office visits to a doctor that is not going to be enough.  I would like to suggest preparing for the office visit and have you bring along more than your plastic bag containing all of your pills.

Most patients I see are surprised to find out that there’s something they should have brought to their doctor’s visit. Most people have some heads-up for going to their doctor. Certainly if you’re going to your annual check-up or a routine appointment, you should bring these items with you.

Keep this checklist readily accessible; even if you’re going to the hospital for an emergency appointment, aim to take the following 10 items with you:

1. A medical card. It would be ideal for every doctor to have a full list of your medical history, but our country is not even close to having a nationally accessible medical record system. To make sure your doctor has your information available, carry a card with you. You can find many cards that easily downloadable on the Internet where you list your medical problems, surgeries, doctor’s names, insurance, and allergies. Especially if you are seeing a coverage doctor or visiting the E.R., he or she may not have your medical record. This makes sure that your doctor can see your most critical medical information.

2. Changes to your medical record. If you have had recent test results since you last saw your doctor, bring these with you. Even if it was your doctor that you’re going to see who sent you to get the test, bringing the results will make sure that they are discussed during the visit.

3. Your medications. Very often, patients come in and say that they can’t remember what they’re taking. “I think I stopped taking the pink tiny pill, but I’m still taking the white one and the blue one,” is not as helpful as actually seeing the actual bottles with the labels on them. Take all your medications, put them in a bag, and bring them with you. Tell your doctor if you’ve stopped taking any of your medications, and be honest if you haven’t been taking them as much as you were supposed to. Otherwise, your doctor may assume they’re not working, and prescribe you even more!

4. A list of alternative therapies. The majority of our patients use some type of alternative therapy. It is better for your doctor to know about it. Most doctors are not experts in herbal therapies, but it’s useful for them to know what’s your taking in case there are some interactions with your other medications. Keep a list of fish oil, vitamins, and supplements that you’re using, and a record of any visits to chiropractors, naturopaths, or other practitioners.

5. A journal of your symptoms. If you have a chronic condition, or if you have a new symptom you’re concerned about, you should be keeping a journal that documents your symptoms and how it is throughout the days and weeks. Your doctor may also ask you to keep track of your response to treatments you’re doing at home. Sometimes, there are objective measures that you need to write down, such as your blood sugar. Bringing the journal with you to your appointment can help remind you of your story, and allows for your doctor better understand what’s going on and how your symptoms affect your daily life.

6. A written list of your questions. You should always come prepared with a list of questions to ask your doctor. Brainstorm the list well before your appointment, and have a concise list of questions, starting with the most urgent that you must get answered. Don’t leave your doctor’s office without asking them.

7. A notebook and pen. This may seem obvious, but your doctor may not always have writing equipment readily accessible, and it’s important to have a notebook and pen to take notes. Write down things that don’t make sense, and ask for clarification. If there are words mentioned that you’ve never heard of, ask your doctor to spell them. At the end of the visit, ask for a verbal summary. Make sure you write down and understand your plan.

8. A family member or a friend. Having someone with you will give you support and company during the appointment. As importantly, they can help remind you of your questions and concerns, and is another measure to help ensure your doctor answers all the questions that you have.

9. A smartphone. Everyone seems to have some kind of smartphone device: an iPhone, a Blackberry, an iPad. There will downtime when you’re waiting. Use this time to look up what your doctor has told you. The smartphone also keeps you busy if your wait is particularly long!

10. Some snacks. Often, there are limited food options are the doctor’s office, and you may be waiting for some time. Unless you’re told not to eat, or have a complaint that you’re not sure how it will go, having something on hand can help make you feel better.

I hope this list is useful for you as you prepare for your next doctor’s visit.

 

This blog was inspired by Leana Wen, MD

How Safe Are Expired Drugs?-The Truth Will Set Your Medications Free

March 20, 2011

By Richard Altschuler:

Does the expiration date on a bottle of a medication mean anything? If a bottle of Tylenol, for example, says something like “Do not use after June 1998,” and it is August 2002, should you take the Tylenol? Should you discard it? Can you get hurt if you take it? Will it simply have lost its potency and do you no good?

 In other words, are drug manufacturers being honest with us when they put an expiration date on their medications, or is the practice of dating just another drug industry scam, to get us to buy new medications when the old ones that purportedly have “expired” are still perfectly good?
  These are the pressing questions I investigated after my mother-in-law recently said to me, “It doesn’t mean anything,” when I pointed out that the Tylenol she was about to take had “expired” 4 years and a few months ago. I was a bit mocking in my pronouncement — feeling superior that I had noticed the chemical corpse in her cabinet — but she was equally adamant in her reply, and is generally very sage about medical issues.

 So I gave her a glass of water with the purportedly “dead” drug, of which she took 2 capsules for a pain in the upper back. About a half hour later she reported the pain seemed to have eased up a bit. I said “You could be having a placebo effect,” not wanting to simply concede she was right about the drug, and also not actually knowing what I was talking about. I was just happy to hear that her pain had eased.

First, the expiration date, required by law in the United States, beginning in 1979, specifies only the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of the drug — it does not mean how long the drug is actually “good” or safe to use.

Second, medical authorities uniformly say it is safe to take drugs past their expiration date — no matter how “expired” the drugs purportedly are. Except for possibly the rarest of exceptions, you won’t get hurt and you certainly won’t get killed.

Studies show that expired drugs may lose some of their potency over time, from as little as 5% or less to 50% or more (though usually much less than the latter). Even 10 years after the “expiration date,” most drugs have a good deal of their original potency. So wisdom dictates that if your life does depend on an expired drug, and you must have 100% or so of its original strength, you should probably toss it and get a refill, ” If your life does not depend on an expired drug — such as that for headache, hay fever, or menstrual cramps — take it and see what happens.

 

In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, said he concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. Mr. Flaherty noted that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set. The expiration date doesn’t mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful. “Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons,” said Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement in 1999. “It’s not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years. They want turnover.”

The FDA cautioned there isn’t enough evidence from the program, which is weighted toward drugs used during combat, to conclude most drugs in consumers’ medicine cabinets are potent beyond the expiration date. Joel Davis, however, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, said that with a handful of exceptions — notably nitroglycerin, insulin, and some liquid antibiotics — most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. “Most drugs degrade very slowly,” he said. “In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years. ”

 

How To Become a Better Patient-You Need to Ask the Vital Questions

May 10, 2010

It is not easy being a patient.  Most patients are nervous and anxious when visiting a doctor and often forget to ask vital questions that will impact their health.  Here are six questions that you should ask your physician when he\she prescribes a new medication:

1.  What does this medication do?  What is the purpose of the medication?

2. How will I know if the medication is working?  Can you tell me about how long I will have to wait before the medication begins to work?

3. What are the side effects of this medication?  What should I do if I experience these side effects?  How common are these side effects?

4. Why is this medication good or effective for my condition?

5. Are there any other non-medication alternatives that I could try that may do the same as the medication?

6. What are the consequences of not taking this medication?

7. Is this a new drug?  Would a less expensive generic drug work just as well?

By asking these questions, you will demonstrate to your doctor that you are actively involved in your medical care.  You now become a part of the “team” and there is no one who should be more interested in your care than you.