This report will give you 22 important tips to make sure that you're getting the very best out of your arthritis treatment program.
1. Make absolutely sure that the nurse or doctor knows what allergies you have. Also, make sure that they know what other medicines you're taking and ask specifically about drug interactions and side effects.
2. Ask how the arthritis medicine should be taken. Sometimes arthritis medicines are taken best on an empty stomach and sometimes they're taken best on a full stomach. Also ask what time of day is best to take the medication. Some arthritis medicines should be taken in the morning and some should be taken in the evening.
3. If you have other medical illnesses, let the doctor or nurse know about that. If you have a previous history of ulcers, they should be informed.
4. Ask whether there is literature such as an Arthritis Foundation pamphlet available on the kind of medicine that you're going to be receiving. If not, ask if there are any other printed handouts. At the very least, the nurse should go over the medication with you.
5. Ask if the medicine comes as a generic. If it does not, at the very least, ask for a two-week supply of free samples.
6. If you have a common arthritic condition, ask whether any arthritis clinical trials are available in the area. This is a great way to get free medical care for your arthritis along with free medication for your arthritis.
7. Ask about other types of therapies that can be used along with the medicine. For instance, ice or heat to a painful area for 15-20 minutes two or three times a day can be quite effective.
8. Sometimes moist heat also can be effective. Ask your nurse or doctor which is better for you, ice or moist heat. If you're going to use moist heat, make sure it is moist heat rather than dry heat.
9. Sometimes assistive devices such as braces, splints, neck support pillows, canes, etc. may help your medicine work more effectively. Ask whether that's the case.
10. If no specific handouts or pamphlets are available from your doctor, ask whether you can have a photocopy of the pages from the Physician's Desk Reference made available to you. This is difficult to get through because of the vocabulary used, but contains a lot of important information that you may want to know.
11. Remember to ask about how the medicine should be monitored. Most arthritis medicines need to be monitored fairly frequently because of side effects. This is especially true in people over the age of 60.
12. Sometimes, as your arthritis gets better, it's possible to cut back on the amount of medicine you take. Ask about that.
13. Ask whether physical therapy modalities might be helpful in your case.
14. Make sure you let your nurse or doctor know whether you're taking any natural or vitamin supplements. These sometimes can interfere with the effectiveness of your arthritis medication.
15. If you see an article in a magazine about your medication, bring it into your nurse or doctor. Sometimes these articles contain good information. However, sometimes these articles contain misleading, or even worse, wrong information.
16. Ask about generic drugs. Sometimes generic drugs, while cheaper than brand name drugs, may not be as effective. Sometimes though, they can be just as effective. You need to ask.
17. Make sure that you periodically ask your nurse or doctor whether there are any new drugs available for your condition. Sometimes the new drugs are more effective, safer, and more convenient.
18. If, after you start taking your medicine, you notice anything that could be a side effect, call your physician immediately.
19. Ask if there are any Internet web sites that provide good information about the medication that you are taking.
20. Do not share medications with friends or relatives. Remember the medication that has been given to you is specific for your problem. To share your medication with another person can be extremely dangerous. Likewise, if you borrow some of your relatives or neighbors medication, you may run into a terrible problem.
21. If you smoke or drink alcohol, ask about potential problems with your arthritis medicines.
22. Make sure you get the proper monitoring. Many arthritis medicines need careful evaluation of blood And urine on a regular basis.
Dr. Wei (pronounced "way") is a board-certified rheumatologist and Clinical Director of the nationally respected Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and has served as a consultant to the Arthritis Branch of the National Institutes of Health. He is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and the American College of Physicians. For more information on arthritis and related conditions, go to: http://www.arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com