10 Tips For Staying On A Medication Schedule

This information was provided by the National Council on Patient Information and Education.

If you take multiple medications, it might be hard to keep them all straight. But there are a number of things you can do to get organized and remind yourself to take them at the right time and in the right amount (dose). Try to…

1. Set a daily routine. Humans are creatures of habit, so use it to your advantage. Try to take your medications at the same time and place every day (for example, before or after a meal, at bedtime, etc.). Always check the medication on label or ask your healthcare professional if you need to take each medication at a specific time or if you have some flexibility.

2. Make a list of instructions for all of your medications. Create a daily or weekly checklist and keep it someplace where you will see it. Come up with a system that works for you to be able to mark when you have taken each dose.

3. Place sticky note reminders to yourself where you will see them.

4. Count your pills. If you know how many pills you have left, it will be easier to figure out if you’ve missed a dose or already taken one.

5. Ask your healthcare professional or pharmacist about using a pill box
organizer or other aids. These can help serve as cues and range from low-tech pill containers that organize each dose to those that beep when it’s me to take your medication.

6. Set an alarm. Set the alarm on your clock radio or cell phone as a reminder.

7. Use technology. Smartphones and other handheld devices can provide texts, emails or other reminders to help you keep track of your medication schedule. Ask a friend, caregiver or your cell phone provider if you need help using these tools. To set up an email medicine reminder, visit the Script Your Future Medication on Awareness campaign at www.scriptyourfuture.org.

8. Bring another set of ears. Bring a trusted friend, family member or caregiver along to the doctor or pharmacy if you think you might need help understanding or remembering instructions. Ask that person to help you figure out a system to help you remember to take your medicines.

9. Mark it on your calendar. Write the date you are due for your next re ll or follow-up appointment on your calendar.

10. Talk to your pharmacist about scheduling medicine refills at the same time, if possible. This will reduce the number on trips to the pharmacy. Re ll all of your prescriptions at a single pharmacy location rather than multiple locations.

Remember—don’t stop or change the way you take any of the medications prescribed to you without talking to your healthcare professional first.