Keeping your medications straight for safe self-administration can get tricky. Fatigue, forgetfulness, and even such factors as lack of a regular routine can make it difficult to keep track of what you’ve taken and when — especially if you’re on more than one medication.
Here are our top tips for how to manage your medications and reduce the risk of complications.
1. Talk to your doctor or even the local pharmacist on how best to manage your medications. They can advise on the proper dosage for your condition, when it’s best to take the medication in question, and if there are any contraindications to other medications you’re on. They will also be able to discuss possible side effects with you.
2. Never, under any circumstances, self-medicate according to your own rules. Always take a prescription as prescribed (how much, when, and for what) — and see tip #1 above if in doubt! Increasing or decreasing dosage amounts without consulting your healthcare provider first can cause unforeseen complications. Even if you’re starting to feel better and decide to skip doses or stop suddenly altogether isn’t a good idea. Medication only works when used as directed!
3. Get into a good routine by setting a reminder timer, and/or taking your medication at the same time every day. This will start to feel like a natural part of your daily routine and make you less likely to forget. If it helps, keep a log of what medications you’re on, what they’re for, and when you take them. This is especially helpful if you’re on more than one and will ensure you’re taking the correct dosages of each.
Other helpful hints to keep your medications on track:
Try to fill your prescription before the current one runs out so you stay on track! Store your medications properly, in their original packaging, in a cool, dry place. Weekly pill organizers are another great tool to keep multiple medications and their doses organized. Note that some medications might require refrigeration! Always check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about over-the-counter medications to see if they have any contraindications to your prescriptions.
Filling all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy will help your pharmacist to ensure that you aren’t mixing the wrong medications. If you live in a retirement community, ask them for a suggested pharmacy. At Verve, our preferred pharmacy is CareRx. CareRx offers convenient access, free delivery 24hr/7 days a week, as well as collaboration with doctors and wellness teams within long-term care homes, retirement residences and specialized care centres.
Remember: you are your own best advocate! If you feel like a medication isn’t doing its job, making you feel worse in other ways, or like it’s lost its usefulness, talk to your healthcare professional! Something might need to be adjusted to keep you feeling your best. The key is being open and honest about all of the particulars — and second opinions are always an option.