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How well do you know your meds?

I'd just be interested in others opinions/experiences before possibly deciding whether to make a complaint about an A&E doc - I'm not a complaining type, but this one was in my view being ridiculous.

She asked me what meds I'm on. Sensible question. I'm on 18 regular + other occasional meds, so always carry a list. Told her I had a list, went to get it from my bag. No, she said, I have a list here in the letter from your GP, I want you to tell me your meds. Okay I said, I'll try, but as you see there's lots. So I started reeling off the drug names - Montelukask, Salmeterol etc. No, she said, I want you to tell me the dose of each. Okay, so I said, Montelukast 1 tablet at night, Salmeterol, 2 puffs twice a day etc. No, she said, I want to know the actual amount of medication in each, how many micrograms of each medication you're taking.

Well I was stumped a this point - some I know, like my Ciclesonide because it's always queried, but I don't know how many micrograms make up one Montelukast tablet or how many micrograms in a spray of Salmeterol etc. I could look them up and know where to get the info. My list I carry has all the info.

Just wondering if those of you on lots of meds could competently (oh yeah, and under stress of being very unwell and in A&E with lots of shouting drunks around you...) name the dose of each or if she was being unreasonable? Personally I think she was being unreasonable - later on she walked away and told me she would only come back when I was ready to cooperate. What was I doing that was uncooperative? I couldn't remember the DATE of my last resp. clinic appt. I knew it was last Thursday, but I didn't know what the date was then. The fact that confusion is a symptom of adrenal crisis didn't seem to occur to her...

14 Replies


Dont think she should be asking all that if she has it on her notes.

I also am on lots of stuff and not just asthma ones and wouldnt have a blinking clue either xxx


That is appalling!

I do actually know most of the doses of my meds but I could not reel off a full complete list on demand esp if I was unwell. Virtually all paramedics, doctors etc are eternally grateful for my list and treatment protocol.

I think she was being unreasonable, would she ask an older person the same? She would get all sorts of answers, probably including a nightly tot of brandy!


PS Montelukast is 10mg per square pill! I take two! 5mg is for small people.

1 like

Ratty, I would say she was being unreasonable. I'm not on lots of meds and would say that generally my memory is fine, but I quite often forget things in consultant appts (such as conditions I've had my entire life, or important details about the condition I'm there for). The exact dosages of a huge list of meds, in A&E when as you say your condition is actually making you confused? No way it's reasonable for you to remember all the details, and you hardly seem to have been 'uncooperative'.

Anyway, what was the point of her asking? She had a list already, and if she wanted to compare with the info you had, you'd already told her you had your own list with all the details which is obviously better than relying on you remembering it all accurately and why you have the list in the first place. It sounds like she was for some reason deciding to 'test' you on your knowledge of them which seems completely unnecessary and also very inappropriate, especially in the circumstances - wasting time for a start!

EDIT: meant to say of course I don't know anything about A&E procedures and what's standard, just going on common sense - why bother to waste time asking you for this information when you need treatment and there are more efficient ways of getting the information?


Ratty, she walked away and said she'd only come back when you were ready to cooperate?! That is disgusting!!!!! It sounds like she was being incredibly unreasonable, and I don't blame you at all for considering making a complaint.

I do know all my medication, names and doses, but I also carry a list as when I'm struggling in A&E, trying to remember a list of names/numbers isn't easy. However, I've never expected my patients (when I was working) to remember all theirs. Most people won't know off the top of their head the mgs of their drugs, it'd usually be 1 x XXX before bed etc

Doctors should be seeing it as a bonus if the patient is able to reel off the names and doses of all their medication, not expecting it. Also, as like you say, confusion is a symptom of adrenal crisis, she was completely out of order expecting that of you.

And for the record, I have trouble remembering todays date, nevermind the date of my last appointment, and that's when I'm feeling well!

Dawn x


congrats to ya if u can remember all the medication you're on >.< asking for doses is a bit stupid.


That was definitely unreasonable expecting anyone to remember every medication, frequency and dose. I have worked in several different hospitals and areas where it is a good day when someone even has a list of medication, often we get 'one of those little white ones...' which is no help whatsoever. Have never seen anyone be that exacting/demanding in such questions.

Every area in the NHS has a complaints procedure, with hospitals the PALS (patient advice and liaison service) office is often a good place to start.


Oh My... That is so so so bad!! deffo compalin!!


Thanks everyone for your replies, I'm glad to know my perceptions aren't too wonky. I'm really not one for complaining, especially as this hospital is so good with me, and actually once I'd escaped A&E (I was very lucky, my endo. cons was walking through A&E and saw me and in no uncertain terms made it clear to the A&E doc what she was going to do) and on the ward they were all wonderful - though I am finding being known personally by so many nurses in a huge hospital ever so slightly disconcerting!!

However, I do feel that I need to raise this with someone, especially her walking away because I was 'uncooperative', just so it might reduce the possibility of it happening to me or someone else again. I'm not great at going to A&E, and this sort of experience doesn't help. If I did make a complaint/raise a concern, would it go on my hospital record - I wouldn't want it to affect my treatment?

Kate - I wish I'd been with it enough to come up with an answer starting with 100ml Vodka prn, 125ml white wine qds... heehee. :)


That is really weird, i wonder why she did that!? I also have a list and my repeat presciption which most doctors seem to appreciate. I know the dose of my inhalers and uniphyllin etc, but have no idea about the mcg of nasonex.

If you are worried about it going in your notes, why not phone/email PALS before making a formal complaint? They should be able to tell you whether something will be written in your notes.

Hope you are feeling a bit better. Take care.



I too have all my meds written down, and fortunately have not encountered a doc who would not accept it (although drug charts still get written up wrong, and noone has ever heard of ciclesonide!) although it remains to be seen that I can reel them all off then very SOB....



defo complain hun



Sounds like she had an attitude the wrong kind. She probably had a rough day but there is no professional need to take it out on you. Like others have said go through PALS they will sort things out for you. I'm a nurse and wouldn't be able real off doses etc when in a stressful situation. She was bang out of order. Certainly wasn't professional in her attitude.


wow that is ridiculous... to ask an asthmatic who is already struggling to breathe/talk to try and name precisely how much dosage you take for your medication? really? and should we have a written test as well?.. sounds like she was testing you to see how much you knew lol... totally wrong.. I usually take a prescription with me and show them it.. because usually I struggle to talk by the time I get to hospital...I would not be able to tell them everything....can't believe a Dr would do that to you.....I would have asked for a different Dr... sheesh!.. never had that happen to me in all the times I have gone to A&E.....


oh and I do know all the dosage of my meds... but if I am struggling to talk/breathe... it takes so much energy to say it all.. would you ask a drowning person to reel off their meds or would you help them to get out of the water?... sheesh!


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