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May 25, 2018

The Importance of Taking Your Medication as Directed

The Importance of Taking Your Medication as Directed

The FDA says, “Sticking to your medication routine (or medication adherence) means taking your medications as prescribed – the right dose, at the right time, in the right way and as often as directed. Why is doing these things important? Simply put, not taking your medicine as prescribed by a doctor or instructed by a pharmacist could lead to your disease getting worse, hospitalization, even death.”

Many patients do not follow healthcare provider instructions on how to take medications for various reasons. Such as, not understanding the directions, forgetfulness, multiple medications with different regimens, unpleasant side effects or the medication doesn’t seem to be working. Cost can also be a factor causing medication non-adherence. Patients can’t afford to fill their prescriptions or decide to take less than the prescribed dose to make the prescription last longer.   To get the best results from your medications, taking your medicine as instructed is very important.

Tips to Help You Take Your Medicine 

Taking your medicine as prescribed is important for controlling chronic conditions, treating temporary conditions, and overall long-term health and well-being. A personal connection with your health-care provider or pharmacist is an important part of medication adherence.  A pharmacist is an expert in medications. She/he can help suggest how best to take your medications and help enable you to take control of your health by taking all of your medications as directed.

Nine TipsThat May Help in Medication Adherence:

  • Take your medication at the same time every day.
  • Try taking your medications with a daily routine like brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed. Before choosing your mealtime for your routine, check if your medication should be taken on a full or empty stomach.
  • Download a medication-management app on your smartphone for reminders, refill alerts, drug interaction warnings and to track medication side effects.
  • Keep a “medicine calendar” with your pill bottles, and note each time you take a dose.
  • Use a pill container. Some types have sections for multiple doses at different times, such as morning, lunch, evening, and night.
  • When using a pill container, refill it at the same time each week. For example, every Sunday morning after breakfast.
  • Purchase timer caps for your pill bottles and set them to go off when your next dose is due. Some pill boxes also have timer functions.
  • When travelling, be certain to bring enough of your medication, plus a few days extra, in case your return is delayed.
  • If you’re flying, keep your medication in your carry-on bag to avoid lost luggage. Temperatures inside the cargo hold could damage your medication.

If you have questions about your medication, don’t be shy: ask your healthcare provider.