Table of Contents

01. What is the purpose of this book?

Knowing Your Medications
02. How do physicians decide when to prescribe a medication?
03. Where do I find out about my treatment options?
04. Is the Internet a reliable source of medication information?
05. What are the types of medication benefits?
06. Are all treatment alternatives for a given condition equally effective?
07. Are newer medications better than older ones?
08. Are generic medications as effective as brand-name medications?
09. Why do medications have adverse effects?
10. Are "natural" products safe?
11. Are medications purchased on the Internet safe?

Special Considerations
12. Why are the elderly often overdosed?
13. Why are dose adjustments important in patients with liver or kidney disease?
14. Why are medications a concern during pregnancy?
15. Are medications transmitted through breast feeding?

Buying Your Medication
16. Where can I find out about the cost of a medication?
17. Why are brand-name medications more expensive than generic medications?
18. Do physicians consider cost when prescribing a medication?
19. Why do prescription drug prices vary among different pharmacies?
20. How can I lower my medication costs?
21. Is it okay to split tablets?
22. How are my co-payments determined?
23. Why are free medication samples given to patients?

Responding to Treatment
24. Why do some patients benefit from medications while others do not?
25. How do I know if my medication benefits me?
26. Are higher medication doses more effective?
27. What is a placebo effect?
28. How do I know that my medicine won't harm me?
29. What should I do if I suspect an adverse medication effect?
30. Does taking more than one medication increase the risk for adverse events?
31. Which medications may lead to addiction?
32. What is a drug interaction?
33. Is it safe to consume alcohol when I use medications?
34. Do medications influence my ability to drive?

Facing Challenges
35. Why are drug labels so difficult to understand?
36. What are medication switches?
37. What is polypharmacy?
38. Why are regular medication reviews useful?
39. Can I be compensated if I suffer medication-induced complications?
40. What are medication errors?

Following Treatment Recommendations
41. Why is it important for me to take my medications as prescribed?
42. Why do patients take a lower-than-prescribed dose?
43. What are useful strategies to improve adherence?
44. If I mistakenly skip a dose of my medication, can I make up for it later?
45. What happens if I suddenly stop taking my medications?

Documenting Medication Effects
46. How is the benefit-harm balance determined?
47. How are the benefits of new medications documented?
48. How are adverse effects of new medications documented?
49. Does regulatory approval of a medication guarantee its safety?

50. What is a medication?
51. What are the regulatory requirements for medication approval?
52. What are the regulations for "natural health products" or dietary supplements?
53. What are the requirements for medications in children?
54. What does "off-label use" mean?
55. What are the rules for promoting medications to consumers in the U.S.?
56. Why does the U.S. restrict medication imports from other countries?
57. What are Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines?
58. Are pharmacy compounded medications FDA approved?
59. What are the effects of medications on the environment?

60. What can I do to improve my medication benefits?
61. Recommendations for better use of medications

Appendix A, Glossary
Appendix B, Abbreviations
About the Authors

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