Contemporary Medicine
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When you are about to start taking a new medicine, ask around about it, learn about possible interactions with other drugs and see if there are any special instructions you should consider related to medicine absorption. For example, is it important to take it between meals, with the meal or just before going to sleep? Also, ask your physician what the smallest dose that will help reduce pain and inflammation is. The smaller the dose you take, the less risk of serious side-affects.

 Familiarize yourself with a medicine before you start taking it

Side effects

Since a great number of drugs used to treat arthritis can cause anemia, gastric ulcer and other gastric-enteric side effect, ensure that your physician sends you to take necessary laboratory tests. Besides, be sure not to confuse an allergic reaction with a side effect: allergic reactions usually cause rash and itching, and side effects are much more serious.

New medicines

When you decide, in agreement with your physician, that you need a new medicine, your physician should explain the way the medicine is supposed to work, how large a dose you should take and what the possible side effects are. Besides that, your physician should advise you to come back after one or two weeks for an examination. You should inform your physician about any unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomachache, headaches, blurred vision or drowsiness.

Source: an excerpt from the book "Living with Arthritis"