Roadmap to Medication Success
| Posted On Nov 20, 2013 | By: Marianne Lee, PharmD
Understanding how to properly take your medications is so important to your health, but many people – estimates are between 33% and 50% of people who take medication regularly – do not take them safely and properly, leading to additional labs or doctor’s visits, medical complications, and even hospitalizations, all at an additional cost.
To ensure you take your medications correctly and receive the maximum health benefit from taking those medicines, here are some things you should do – think of them as your “roadmap to medication success.”
At Your Doctor’s Office
- Bring ALL of your medicine bottles (prescription and over-the-counter) and a medicine list with you to every visit
- Tell your healthcare provider:
- Your healthcare concerns. Don’t be afraid to bring a written list of questions!
- All of your health conditions, allergies and side effects from prior medicines
- Any issues with taking your medicines, such as trouble swallowing pills, affording a medicine, or remembering to take it
- Ask how often you should measure the effect of your medicine. For example, ask how often you should check your blood pressure if you take a pill that is meant to lower your blood pressure.
- Ask if your medicine routine can be simplified.
At the Pharmacy
- Ask if your medicines should be taken in any special way (e.g., with food or with a full glass of water) or if there are any drug interactions.
- Stick with one pharmacy to fill all of your medicines
- Ask about a delivery or mail service
- Know the names of all of your medicines, how to take them, and what they are for.
- Keep an updated list of them with you at all times.
- Sign up for MyHealth to have online access to your electronic medical record
- Understand each medicine’s importance and report any side effects.
- Take your medicines as directed; you may not always feel your medicine working, but it is important to take them as directed.
- Don’t cut back or stop medicines before talking to your healthcare provider.
- Remember to take your medicines and keep track of all of them.
- Keep your medicines in a pill box in a spot where you will see and remember to take them, away from children and pets.
- Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medicine.
- Call the pharmacy to refill your medicines 5-7 days before you run out.
- If cost is an issue, please tell your healthcare provider. There may be a less expensive option for you.