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Ask Your Pharmacy

Patient knowledge about medicines information is important to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Study shows that barriers to rationale use of medicines by patient may contributed by the following factors:

  1. patients have inadequate knowledge about medicines
  2. patient are not convinced of the need for treatment
  3. patients are concerned about the side effects of medicines

Hence ,patients are encouraged to ensure all questions on medicines prescribed are answered before leaving doctor’s office or pharmacy. Thus, patients are advised to get information on medicines from a qualified doctor or pharmacist to ensure that the information received are accurate and reliable.

These are examples of questions that patients should ask when the medicines are given or prescribed.

  1. What is the name of medicines given or prescribed, what are the effect of the medicines?

    Each medicines has generic name and brand name.

    1. Generic name is the name of active ingredient for each medicines and the name is the same worldwide.
    2. The brand name is a trade name by the manufacturer. There are variety of brand name for each medicines.

    Knowing the name of the medicines taken, may facilitate doctors in making decisions about your treatment.

    Furthermore, the information on the side effects and benefits of taking prescribed medicines, will help patients to adhere to the treatment regimen.

  2. What is the dose and frequency of the medicines? Is there any special technique to administer the medicines?

    Patients should take the medicines according to the dosage and frequency as directed by doctor and pharmacist. Taking medicines in incorrect dosage and frequency will lead to ineffectiveness of treatment. Patients are also at risk of developing adverse effects. Using the correct techniques may also contribute to the effectiveness of a treatment. For example, incorrect technique of using inhaler may cause exacerbation of asthma. Instruction to take medicines before or after meal should not be neglected in order to achieve optimum effect of the treatment.

    Before meals: UThe medicines should be taken on empty stomach. Which means the medicines should be taken 1 hour before meals or 2 hours after meals. This is because food may affect the absorption of some medicines.

    After meals: The medicines should not be taken on empty stomach. This is to avoid stomach discomfort or irritation.

  3. How long will I need to use the medicines?
    1. Taking medicines for a short period
      For the treatment of acute illnesses such as fever, cough and flu
    2. Taking medicines for a long period or for a lifetime
      For the treatment of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes

    Knowing the duration of time for you to stay on your medicines will help you to prepare for a lifestyle changes if necessary.

  4. How do I store the medicines?

    Most of medicines should be kept in a dry and cool places, some may require refrigeration. Instruction on how to store the medicines are available on medicine’s label.

  5. What should you do if you forget to take your medicines?

    Take your medicines immediately. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose as usual. Do not double the dose of your medicines.

  6. Will this medicines interact with other medicines, food or drinks that I am taking?

    Medicines may interact with other medicines, food and drinks. These interactions may cause the medicines to be less effective or otherwise. This effect may cause harm to the patient. Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any supplements, vitamins, and other traditional preparations.

  7. Inform your doctor if :
    1. You have any allergies to medicines or had experience any side effects due to medicines.
    2. You are receiving treatment for any disease or you have other problems such as unable to swallow tablets.
    3. You are pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or breastfeeding.
      These are important information to help doctor make the best decision for your treatment option.

    Maklumat–maklumat ini adalah penting bagi memudahkan doktor anda membuat penilaian bagi memilih ubat-ubatan yang bersesuaian dengan anda.

  8. What are the side effects that are likely to occur? What should you do if you experience these side effects?

    Taking medicines may cause side effects, however not everyone will experience side effects. It depends on how the medicines act on the patient’s body. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects occur. Discuss on the action that can be taken to reduce the risk of side effects and what to do if the side effects persist.


  1. Beena J. & Jimmy J. (2011). Patient Medication Adherence: Measures in Daily Practice, Oman Med J. 2011 May; 26(3): 155–159. Diambil pada 8 Jun 2016 dari http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191684/
  2. Pusat rujukan persuratan melayu, diambil pada Jun 8, 2016 dari http://prpm.dbp.gov.my/
  3. Othman H., Baharuddin S. N. F., Din R., Mohd Taib H. & Mohd Helmi N.E. (2011). Dapatkan Maklumat Pengubatan daripada Doktor / Pegawai Farmasi Anda. MyHEALTH Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Diambil pada Jun 8, 2015 dari http://www.myhealth.gov.my/dapatkan-maklumat-pengubatan-daripada-doktor-pegawai-farmasi-anda/
  4. Gupta S. (2015) 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Pharmacist. Everyday HEALTH. Diambil pada Jun 8, 2016, dari http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/questions-you-should-ask-your-pharmacist/
Last Reviewed : 24 October 2016
Writer/Translator : Maisara bt. Abdul Rahman
Accreditor : Munira bt. Muhammad