Five Tips to Help You Stay on Track with Your Medications
It’s estimated that 50% of people who take medications do not take them as prescribed. The health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare company, are pleased to share a few tips to help you make sure you get the most out of your prescriptions and stick to your recommended schedule.
- Ask an Expert. When taking prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any concerns you may have. Questions might include dosage, expiration dates, proper storage, potential side effects, or anything else that could lessen your chances of taking your medications correctly and effectively. Bring a list of any prescriptions, over-the-counter, or herbal supplements you are taking when speaking to a healthcare provider or pharmacist to ensure there are no drug interactions or side effects.
- Don’t Deviate. Not taking your medication as prescribed can lead to adverse side effects, prolonged illness, or the need for additional medications. The list of reasons for not taking prescriptions is long and can range from simply forgetting to not having transportation to pick up the medication from the pharmacy. Check to see if your health plan or the company who makes your medication offers a “medication adherence” program. These programs provide you with support, tools and resources. Some even include access to a 24/7 clinical coach who can help you stay on track with your medication schedule and help you overcome any obstacles you might have with taking your medicine regularly.
- Finish Your Prescription. Even if you think you do not need the medication anymore or you are feeling better, follow the instructions giving by your healthcare provider and take the entire prescription if recommended. Prescriptions do expire, so “saving” the remainder of a prescription for later use can be dangerous. If refills are needed, set up automatic refills or personal reminders so you never run out of your medication and miss a dose.
- Know the Side Effects. Knowing the potential side effects of each medication you are taking allows you to be aware of changes in how you are feeling and your health. If you experience a side effect, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
- Make an Appointment with Yourself. Taking your medications as prescribed and at the times recommended by your healthcare professional is important to the effectiveness of your treatment. Set a reminder on your phone or computer calendar to prompt you to take your medication. Use a daily or weekly pill organizer to ensure you take the right medications at the right time on the right day. By establishing a routine with your medications, you are less likely to miss a dose.