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Making a Useful Medication List
Making the Most of Your Visit to the Doctor


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Making a Useful Medication List

How to Make a Medication List
Having a list of your medications is essential to making the most of your visit with the doctor. At PLANning Health, we can help you clarify what meds are for what diagnosis and much more! Our Health Advocates can also work with you to develop questions to ask your doctor so that you get the most out of your visit.

Without the details of your symptoms, medications and diagnosis on hand (typed, written, on iPhone/Android/PDA, etc), doctor’s visits often go awry and much time is wasted on trying to remember information. For example without a medication list, someone might say to the doc, " I take the little blue pill or a big red pill - do you know those? I'm not sure what for, but I think it's for my heart...." It's easy to see how inefficient this would make the clinic visit.

If you are ever confused about which medications you should or should not be taking, the best way to deal with this is to bring in all the pill bottles (or vials/inhalers, if injected or nebulized/inhaled) of medications to your clinic visit.

This sample medication list should be divided into Current Meds and Inactive/Past Meds:

Your Name's Medication List - lastupdated  (date)                   
Current Meds:
     Name             Dose               How often         Purpose
1. Albuterol    2 inhalations        twice daily         Asthma
2. Advair        500 mg inhaled    twice daily         Asthma
3. Norvasc    10 mg                   every morning   high blood pressure
4. Lipitor        30 mg                   every night        high cholesterol
Inactive Meds (in past year): Zocor, Vasotec, Tenormin, Asmanex


Many medicine lists may not be this simple with inactive or past meds too numerous to list. However, having the list specifying, at least, each current medication and dosage along with the knowledge of the exact diagnoses, allows more time spent on the symptoms present and prevents a patient from being put on the same medication for the same problem (because the exact medication or diagnosis wasn’t known). This DOES happen!

Example of what happens without a Med List
A past call illustrates the above and the need for a medication list. (As always, patient's names are protected and any identifying details are not included):

Mr X saw a doctor for asthma that was still uncontrolled after using new inhalers for two months. He didn't remember the name of the medication but remembered that he had two inhalers – one purple and another blue. The doctor prescribed new medication. Mr. X went home to discover that he had already tried those medications. As a result, he had to make a new doctor's appointment for the same problem and was hoping he didn't have to visit the emergency room. Just as unfortunate is that he wasted his time and money on "new" medications that he was already using and weren't working for him.

Our Health Advocates at PLANning Health are able to help individuals like Mr. X by helping sort out your medications, developing a list of questions, and contacting the doctor (or, if in the Los Angeles area, accompanying you to the doctor's visit) to address the problem.

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