Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

How to get the best value from your next medical visit.

1. Get the First Appointment of the Day

Whenever you book a doctor’s appointment, always try to get the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch. At that time, things haven’t had a chance to become backed up, as they typically have by the third appointment of each period.

2. Do Your Homework on Your Condition

These days, you need to be an active participant in your health care. Thanks to the internet, guidelines and strategies based on the latest scientific evidence for treating many health conditions are just a few clicks away. You can then discuss the options available with your doctor, including newer medications, lifestyle changes and combined therapies.

3. Ask to Sample a Drug First

When your doctor prescribes a new brand-name medication, you may be able to trial a sample to see how it affects you. Drug company representatives often give doctors free samples, which they can pass along to you. One caveat: check the expiration date. Otherwise, you may be able to try a small initial dose with a larger repeat if required.

4. Tell Your Doctor What You Can Afford

Studies find that doctors won’t usually ask you if you can afford your medication, but if you tell them you can’t, they’ll work to come up with strategies so you can get your drugs and still have money to live on. Some options: writing prescriptions for generics instead of brand names, reducing dosages, stopping some medications, and referring you to pharmaceutical assistance programmes.

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