Questions for Your Doctor
To increase the likelihood that a medication will work well, patients and their families must actively
participate with the doctor prescribing it. They must tell the doctor about the patient's past medical
history, other medications being taken, anticipated life changes such as planning to have a baby and,
after some experience with a medication, whether it is causing side effects. When a medication is prescribed,
the patient or family member should ask the following questions recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) and professional organizations: What is the name of the medication, and what is
it supposed to do? How and when do I take it, and when do I stop taking it? What foods, drinks, other
medications, or activities should I avoid while taking the prescribed medication? What are the side
effects, and what should I do if they occur? Is there any written information available about the medication?
We have divided into four large categories based on the symptoms for which they are primarily used antipsychotic,
antimanic, antidepressant,and antianxiety medications.
Treatment evaluation studies have established the efficacy of the medications described here; however,
much remains to be learned about these medications. The National Institute of Mental Health, other Federal
agencies, and private research groups are sponsoring studies of these medications.
Scientists are hoping to improve their understanding of how and why these medications work, how to
control or eliminate unwanted side effects, and how to make the medications more effective.
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