Medications can make a world of difference—if you take them the right way. Half the time, though, this doesn’t happen, at least when it comes to drugs doctors prescribe for chronic conditions.1
Sometimes people miss doses. Or they might stop refilling the prescription or never get it filled in the first place. Why does this happen? Well, certainly cost or side effects of drugs can be an issue. Also, complex dosing schedules or multiple drugs can be really confusing.2 You might feel as though you need a multi-page spreadsheet just to keep track!
The problem is not taking medications the right way can threaten your health, increase complications, and lower your quality of life. And sometimes skipping doses can increase the risk of resistant strains of certain “bugs.”2
Do you need help with taking your medications the right way? Lean on me. I can help you increase the benefits and decrease the risks of taking your medications. When we talk, it’s helpful to know about all the medications you’re taking and about any problems you’ve had in the past, such as allergic reactions or trouble swallowing.3
I can also answer questions like these:
How soon can I expect to feel better? When I start to feel better, can I stop taking the drug?
Do I need a refill, or can I stop when the bottle is empty?
Are there any drugs, supplements, or foods I should avoid while taking this medication?
Are there any special directions for taking or storing this medication?
Is there a cheaper generic version available?
What should I do if I have side effects? What are the most common ones?
What should I do if I miss a dose?3
I can also help learn how to better manage your prescriptions. We can discuss a few tricks of the trade like these:
Make it a habit. Connect your medication routine with another well-established habit such as brushing your teeth.
Keep drugs in sight. Put them where you won’t miss them. For example, if you need to take drugs with food, keep them on the dinner table or TV tray.
Use dosing containers. These contain labels for days of the week and dosing frequencies. You can find them in our store.
Track it with technology. Options range from reminder pagers and wristwatches to smartphone apps and voice-command medication managers. We can discuss what might work best for you.2
You can also simply create a printable medicine record with columns like these:
- The name of the drug
- What it looks like
- How much to take
- When to take it
- Start and stop dates
- How it helps
- Who to contact if there’s a problem4
As you can see, taking medications isn’t a time to wing it! Fortunately, I can assist you. All you have to do is ask.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: “Multiple interventions offer pathways to improved medication adherence.” Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13aug/0813RA5.html Accessed 4/6/14.
FDA: “Are You Taking Medication as Prescribed?” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm164616.htm Accessed 4/6/14.
FDA: “Stop — Learn — Go — Tips for Talking with Your Pharmacist to Learn How to Use Medicines Safely.” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/ucm163330.htm Accessed: 6/8/14.
FDA: “My Medicine Record.” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Forms/UCM095018.pdf Accessed: 6/8/14.