Medications and Friends

Mar 08, 2017

“All philosophy is homesickness.”

(1772 — 1801)
German Poet and Philosopher

Medications and Friends

TISA Description of the Problem: Anytime we prescribe a medication, whether for hyperlipdemia, diabetes, or depression, a variety of “lobbyists” will attempt to sway our patients views about taking the medication. Few lobbyists are as powerful as friends and family members. The following clinical interviewing tip from Audrey Newell, M.D. addresses this key circumstance.

Tip: I have made it a habit, when first prescribing a medication to always ask the following question:

“Do you know anybody who is taking this medication or have you heard anything about it?”

TISA Follow-up: The habit of using Audrey’s tip routinely is a wonderful one to develop. It not only can provide the clinician with a “heads-up” that our patient is going to hear either good or bad things about our recommendation, but also with the phrase, “or have you heard anything about it?” opens the door for information or misinformation from sources such as the web. With regards to lobbyists, few are as powerful as family or good friends. A comment from a best friend such as, “Oh my God, I can’t believe he suggested you take that medication, I was on it once and was sick as a dog!” pretty well makes our writing of the prescription a study in futility. With this one question, the clinician can foresee potential problems, address them proactively or perhaps may decide that a different, yet equally effective, medication may be wiser to prescribe.

Tip provided by:

Audrey Newell, M.D.
Ann Arbor, Michigan

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