Who Should Manage Your Prescriptions?
Last updated: March 2021
This is not straightforward
Most people have a cardiologist and a primary care physician. Even I have run into this issue and had to ask the question and decide how to determine which one to pick or let them both have a part in it. This is not straightforward and can differ for you based on your doctor’s recommendations. If you have not asked your cardiologist, ask them first since they are your primary heart doctor. You might be like me and forget to ask questions when in an appointment or are too shy to ask so hopefully this will help you.
I realized this was best for me
Ever since my diagnosis, my primary care doctor has taken charge of my medications, but they were not the first ones to prescribe some of what I am taking. After diagnosis, my cardiologist started me on the basic cocktail of medications based on my condition. Since then, other than minor tweaking, my primary care doctor has taken over on medications. At first, I didn’t really like it when they added heart medications when my cardiologist did not. However, when I thought about it, I realized this was actually the best thing for me, and I will tell you why.
My cardiologist does not draw labs. He has told me this is up to my primary care doctor to draw labs so that I can find out things like my blood count and cholesterol numbers. While it seemed a bit weird, he would not draw labs unless requested, it made sense that my primary doctor did this for me and I would relay the results to my cardiologist. Your primary care doctor is in charge of your whole body while your cardiologist only really takes care of cardiac issues. If your cardiologist drew labs, your primary care doctor would have to request lab results every time because insurance will not pay for repeat lab work at two different doctors. It is much easier for me to bring my cholesterol results to my cardiologist than bring my whole set of labs to my primary care doctor.
Communication is key
The reason I prefer my primary doctor to take control of my medication is because of the lab being taken by them. If I do have heart medication changes, like when I recently had an addition to my cholesterol medication, I brought the results of my labs before and after the medication change and checked with him on what he thought. He agreed the right changes were made and it was as simple as that. Yes, your cardiologist should be in charge of your heart, but laboratory interpretation and medication are pretty standard around the board. If you have a competent doctor, cardiologist, and are willing to communicate between doctors for your own health, there is no reason your primary doctor can’t be in charge of your medications.
It is your responsibility
Hopefully this helps clear up some confusion on who should be in charge of your medications. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to stay on top of it and facilitate communication between your doctors. There is no perfect answer, but I believe that if your primary care doctor is in charge, then you run a decision by your doctor with labs or other tests to support why medications were changed, added, or dropped, you should have good medication management for your condition.
Have you ever avoided going to the doctor out of fear?