With prescription drug abuse on the rise in a huge way- especially opioid abuse — individuals are beginning to wonder if they should fill a prescription the doctor willingly gave them following surgery or of chronic pain. A recent article published by US News titled “5 Questions to ask your doctor before you fill that prescription” gives insight into questions that should be addressed and empowers patients to ensure that they need the medications prescribed to them. The questions from the article/slide show on the health.usnews.com website are:
- Why am I getting this drug?
- What are the risks versus the benefits?
- Is there an older drug or lifestyle alteration that works just as well?
- Will it interfere with other medications I am taking?
- Has this drug been shown to prevent real clinical events?
These questions may seem simple, but asking them may help prevent addiction down the line. Many individuals are aware of their predisposition to addictions and should be especially cautious about taking prescription drugs. Also, education about why a drug is prescribed is something that empowers us to know if we truly need it or want to take it. Knowing if the drug has more risks than benefits can also influence one’s decision to fill a prescription. If the risks outweigh the benefits then it may not be worth it and an alternative can be sought after. Sometimes, taking a prescription drug can be an easier fix for a problem. However, if the fix leads to addiction, and there is a way to recover from a problem simply by lifestyle alteration—whether with diet, exercise, sleep, relocation, etc.,— then many individuals will opt for that. Knowing if alternatives exist is key in staying educated about prescriptions as well. Lastly, if the drug has not been shown to have positive real lasting effects upon its users, then users may opt not to take the prescription as well.
Knowledge is power and becoming aware of the reasons why a physician is prescribing medicine is key in preventing addiction. Talking openly with the doctor about alternative options is smart and preventative. Further, more and more physicians are more thorough in their prescription practices due to the fact that prescription drug addiction is on the rise.