Helpful Medication Tips from our Pharmacist
Posted on: July 13, 2015
Michelle Taymuree, PHARMD, MBA
When you are on several different medications as well as medications that need to be taken throughout the day, being organized is essential. There are many ways to keep all of your medications in order but the most important way is the one you will follow! Medication adherence is essential for diseases to be controlled- your medications only work when you are remembering to take them.
At a loss where to start organizing your medications?
The best way to start is to have a list
of all your current
medications as well as any vitamins and supplements. This list is very useful when visiting doctors, when you have questions for the pharmacist (especially at pharmacies you do not use frequently
) and when inquiring about drug interactions for over-the-counter medications. Many people think supplements and herbal medications are harmless and thus leave them off their medication list. However, there can be serious interactions between supplements and your prescription medications; a list can help keep you safe.
Once your list is complete, the next step would be to organize the pill bottles. If you have pill bottles scattered throughout the house, try to gather them all up and keep them in one place. Avoid storing your medications in the bathroom!
Hot, steamy air can drastically alter the stability and potency of medications. With all your medication pill bottles and supplements in one place, take a peek at the expiration dates. Dispose of any expired drugs. Most police departments have programs in place to handle the disposal of medications. For medications that are going to expire in the next 3 months, take a bright sticker or pen and write the expiration date on the cap as a reminder. Remember, if only the month and year is listed as the expiration date, the drug expires at the end of the month (for example, 5/2016 indicates the medication expires 5/31/2016).
Purchasing daily pill reminder boxes is an easy solution for help remembering to take your medications on schedule. There are a lot of variations with some types having separate boxes for morning, noon and night. If you do not find one in stores that fits your needs, taking several of the weekly ones and duct taping them together is an easy way to make one that fits your needs. One of the biggest advantages to using the weekly pill reminder boxes is being able to track how many doses you miss in a week. Maybe there is a certain time of day that you struggle to remember to your medications? With nearly all of us having cell phones on us or near us at all times, customizing alarms on your cell phone is another easy way to help you remember to take your medications. On smart phones, the alarms can even be labeled so it will pop-up on your screen with the drug you need to take at that hour.
It is hard to remember to take medications on schedule! Having a plan in place is essential. Try to make one that fits your lifestyle!