The process, called a "brown bag checkup," involves a patient putting all of his prescription drugs, herbal and dietary supplements, and over-the-counter medications into a paper bag and bringing them to the doctor's office for inspection. This way, health care providers can check for potential drug interactions, mislabeled medications, or other hazards that could cause injury to the patient.
"This should be done every year and preferably more often," says Douglas Paauw, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. "Some of my patients do it at every visit."
During the “brown bag” sessions, patients can take advantage of the opportunity to get one-on-one advice from their doctor by:
- Keeping health care providers updated about their medication history as well as their physical wellness.
- Presenting a list of all medications to your doctor as well as the medications themselves. Your doctor can use the list to check for errors or past medications that may cause a threat if refilled. To find out what information should be included on a medication list, patients can print and complete a free drug chart called "My Medicine Record" on the FDA’s website.
- Discuss possible medication changes, including strengths and dosages, while easily seeing if the new medicine will interfere with your current regimen.
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