Practice Makes Perfect! Learn About Your Medicines
Learning more about what your medications are used for will reinforce your adherence to your treatment plan. Learning about your medical conditions can be a strong motivator, too. This is especially important for conditions that have few, if any, symptoms to remind you it’s time to take your medicine – like high blood pressure.
Learning about side effects are important so you can recognize them if they occur. Many side effects with drug treatment are temporary, so be sure to ask your doctor about short-lived and more long-term side effects with any medication.
Pill boxes are an organization tool for your pills that can easily be found at most pharmacies. Pill boxes have been around for a long time, and are especially useful if you easily forget if you have taken your meds each day. Pill boxes are also very useful for people who take multiple medications each day and at different times.
Older patients may especially find pill boxes convenient to use. The boxes are split into individual sections that make-up a week’s worth of medicine, or more, and may even be separated by times of day. They can easily fit into travel bags or purses; however, don’t leave them in a hot car.
Electronic Applications and Pill Reminders
Apps to help patients remember and track their medication use are convenient tools for anyone who carries a smartphone. For example, the free Drugs.com Pill Reminder App can keep a complete list of all your medications. You can choose to get pill reminders to take your meds at a special time, and receive prescription refill reminders right on your mobile device. The Drugs.com Pill Reminder App even keeps a history of when you have (or have not) taken your meds.
You can also add personal notes and get easy access to important information about your medicine online such as side effects , dosage, drug interactions and safe use during pregnancy. If you like visual clues, you can add photos of your medications for easy reference. Plus, all the data is kept on your personal device only and is fully secure and private, for added peace of mind.
Maybe you prefer not to use a mobile device or just like the simple method of a calendar. Those are great tools, too. Mark your daily doses on a paper calendar at home, on your computer, or even in your little black book! Just be sure to update it frequently and mark through each dose as you take it, in case you forget from dose to dose.
Getting into a regular routine to help you remember to take your meds is really what’s most important. Find what works best for you.
Tie Your Medication Doses with a Daily Activity
You can tie your drug doses with a daily routine like breakfast time, after a shower, or when you get ready for bed. Keep your medications in easy-to-see (but secure) spots as a visual clue. Pretty soon taking your meds will be as routine as, well, brushing your teeth (and that might be a good time to take your meds, too).
Be sure you keep your medications in a safe and secure area, away from curious toddlers and pets. Protect your meds from extreme heat or cold, and don’t leave them in a steamy bathroom (where medicine cabinets are usually found, coincidentally!). Most medications are stable at room temperature, but under extreme conditions, they can lose their potency, crumble, or even melt.
If your medicine needs to be stored in the refrigerator, consider posting a sticky note reminder on the fridge as a reminder to grab it when it’s time.
Get Help from Family Members or Friends
Many friends and family take meds, and creating a team to help remind each other to take their doses can be helpful. If you live alone, maybe a friend would text you each morning or night, when they also take their meds. If a family member you live with also takes meds, you have a built in pill reminder right there at your house. Take advantage of it!
Seniors often need help to remember their medications. If you have a loved one that takes several meds, consider helping them create a pill box, printing out pictures of their pills from the Pill ID tool, and then writing in large print what each med is used for, and its name and dose. Place the pictures in a conspicuous place so that they can refer to the printouts when needed.
Large print on prescription bottles and for drug information printouts can be very helpful as older patients lose their eyesight. Your pharmacist can usually print out dosing and drug information in large type – so be sure to ask.