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WELLtip: Making an Informed Choice About Medication

Posted Jun 12 2009 5:02pm

Having a chronic illness means making some very serious decisions about what medication I take. I have had awful side effects from numerous medications, including one I still take out of necessity, and I have had to learn to deal with the side effects. This is why I think it is so important for people to make an informed decision before taking a medication. Do not simply take a medication just it is offered!

That said, another person's experience (especially with side effects) may not be reflective of what yours will be. There are a myriad of things that influence side effects, including your genetic make-up. I have a list factors I consider when I evaluate a medication. I urge anyone who has to choose a medication to think about the following:

  1. Doctor’s advice--I always have an honest conversion with my doctor.
  2. Potential side effects and warnings--you should always research these, but keep in mind that they reflect all possible outcomes and often are only seen in a very small portion of the population.
  3. Cost/benefit analysis based on your individual condition.

There are no guarantees when taking medications--we all know this! But it is essential to make as well-informed a choice as possible. You have that power in your hands.

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