What questions to ask about your medications?

When a patient is in contact with the health care system, it is a point where care is provided, service is rendered and if needed, medication changes are made.  These medication changes are made either in the form of treatment initiation, adjustment to existing medications or stopping medications that may no longer be needed.

Recently, Emily Musing from Canadian Patient Safety Institute has developed five main questions for patients to ask at each point of their contact with the health care system. These questions are designed to help patients to gather all the critical information that is important and related to their medication therapy.

  1. Changes? Have any medications been added, stopped or changed and why?
  2. Continue? What medications do I need to keep taking, and why?
  3. Proper Use? How do I take my medications, and for how long?
  4. Monitor? How will I know if my medication is working, and what side effects do I watch for?
  5. Follow-up? Do I need any tests and when do I book my next visit?


I think these questions are not only for patients to remember. Pharmacists should try to organize their discussion around these questions as well during their patient counseling sessions.  They provide much more important meanings to the medications rather than talking about pharmacology or the whole slew of potential side effects that may not be relevant to the patients.

Here’s the link if you want to download the original poster on these 5 questions:



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My name is Cynthia Leung and I am a practicing pharmacist in Kingston Ontario, Canada. This blog is for me to share my ideas, opinions and perspectives on how medications are used in our health care system. Note that these posts are my own opinions and do not represent the opinions of my current or former employers and / or organizations that I may belong to. Any possible case scenarios described in my posts would be modified to maintain patient confidentiality. This blog is not a platform for professional advise for patients or health care providers and the content is not meant to support any clinical decisions or replace professional opinions. Also the images are either taken or created by the author, or adapted with permissions. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts!

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