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Keep Track On Your Medicines

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Medicines have the amazing ability to change people’s lives, but only if taken exactly as prescribed. If the medication regimens are not followed, medications can lead to more serious health problems.

Jennifer Coates and Lisa Mancinelli, Woonsocket RI Community Page

Remembering when and how to take medication may be tedious and bothersome to certain individuals. This is especially to those who suffer chronic illnesses that may require routine medication intake.

Adherence, compliance or concordance towards medication is defined as patients following the instructions and advices given by the healthcare professionals.

Why is it important to take medication properly? Medication only works if you take them. Thus keeping track on your medication is really crucial. This ensures that the condition or illness can be treated or managed optimally.

Keeping track of your medication will no longer be a problem if one incorporates it as part of daily activities.

Understands the purpose of taking the medication

Most people do not see the purpose of taking the medication. Some does not believe that the medication taken will help manage their existing medical conditions. However, adherence comes better when the patients understand the functions of the medication they are taking.

The only solution for this situation is to always ask the doctors or the pharmacist on at least the basic information on the medication taken. For example, glibenclamide is a hypoglycemic agent and that means it helps in lowering blood sugar level. Thus it should be taken after food as blood sugar level will elevate after meals.

Get the information on how long the medication should be taken:

Medications are taken in certain period of time or it can be lifelong. Antibiotics for example should be taken at a specific amount of time. On top of that, an antibiotic course given by the doctors must be finished to ensure the bacteria inflicting the infection are fully eliminated.

Medications for chronic illnesses, such as for the management of hypertension and diabetes are often taken in a long period of time.

This information helps the patient in establishing a better medication taking routine.

In addition to that, the information on when the need refill the medication is also important. This is to avoid the patient from being depletes of the medication.

Self-written instructions:

After getting the information on the medication from your healthcare providers, jot them down nicely on a piece of paper and stick it up on your refrigerator, medicine box or medicine storage cabinets. You may also ask your pharmacist to check on the note in case of incorrect or missing information. It is the way you may get a quick reference on the medication.

As an alternative you may also tabulate all the medication you are taking on a white board to remind you on the exact instruction on how and when to take them:

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Notes:

Insulin – 30 mins before food

Amlodipine 10mg – 1 tablet after food

Atorvastation 20 mg – 1 tablet after food

Medication taking time:

It is easier if you take the medication on the same time every day. It is even easier if the medication is taken along with common daily activities conducted every day. For instance, take the medicines before or after having breakfast, around lunchtime or before bedtime.

Keep a diary:

For those who are taking more than several types of medication and several times a day, keeping a diary can be most helpful. As you wrap up the entire day, you may also recall the medication that has been taken for that entire day. That way your medication intake will always be in track.

Mark on your calendar/planner:

The other alternative would be to rely on is a daily planner, senior citizen may ask an assistance from the children or the caregivers to fill in the planner with daily reminder on the exact time to take medicines. This is also applicable for individuals who lead a busy life.

Set an alarm reminder on mobile phone:

Nowadays mobile phones and smartphones are equipped with planner that can be preset with alarm reminder. This method is very useful as the alarm will goes off whenever the time comes to take the medication.

The Wonder of Pillbox /Medicines Label/Well Organised Medication Storage:

A pill box is effective especially when dealing with several types of medication which must be taken several times a day. It also helps in keeping the medication in a systematic way and also prevents confusion in taking the medication.

If the compartments of the pillbox are not sufficient to fill in all the medication, the other available option is to label the medication. The medication can be labeled either according to its indication, time to be taken, or in any other ways deemed easy to be taken by the patient.

It is also easier to track on the medication when it is kept well organised. This may also avoid mix up and confusion.

Talking to your healthcare providers may also help in developing the best way to keep track on your medication.

Last reviewed : 23 April 2014
Writer : Siti Nurul Fathihah bt. Baharuddin
Reviewer : Yam Chiew Fong