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6 Tips to Remind You to Take Your Medicine

By Susan Beane, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director, Healthfirst

 

 

We all have good intentions, but sometimes it’s just plain tough to follow all the recommendations and requirements of our doctor or practitioner. Patients express common concerns: “I take so many pills, and I can’t keep them all straight!”; “My prescription is so expensive, I just take half a pill a day so they’ll last longer”; or “I feel great now, so why do I still need this medicine?”

 

Here’s what I want to emphasize: your health matters! So I recommend working with your doctors on strategies for taking your medications daily and as prescribed. It’s important to talk with your doctor about the medications you are taking, why you are taking them, and how they will control your medical conditions and keep you healthy.

It’s helpful to take your prescriptions regularly and to make them a part of your daily routine. If you often forget to pick up your medication, it might be useful to get your physician to write a 90-day prescription, which can be mailed directly to your home, instead of a regular 30-day prescription.

 

I spoke with my colleague Catherine Lee, M.D., a physician at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, and here are her best tips for remembering to take your medications:

  • Set up a routine. Take your medications at the same time every day to make it a routine so you remember to take them.
  • Use seven-day pillboxes. Fill up your pillbox once a week and put it where you’ll see it, someplace like your breakfast table or your bedside table.
  • Keep a work stash. Have some medication at work in case you forget to take it at home.
  • Family reminders. Get your family involved. Ask your husband, wife, child, or other family member to remind you to take your medications.
  • Use a smartphone. There are many smartphone apps that will remind you to take your medications daily.
  • Call your doctor. If your medication is running out, call your doctor to phone in a prescription at your local pharmacy before your next scheduled appointment.

If you have barriers to taking your medications—there’s no pharmacy near you, it’s hard to integrate the medications into your daily routine, etc.—it’s important that you talk to your doctor so he or she can help you develop a plan to overcome these problems. Setting up a medication system that fits into your life will allow you to be in better control of your health, which in the end really does matter.

 

 

Dr. Beane is Vice President and Medical Director at Healthfirst®For more tips on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit the Healthfirst website at www.healthfirst.org.