If your doctor prescribes medication for a long-term medical condition, it's important that you take your medication exactly as directed. Skipping a dose, waiting too long between doses, or taking your doses too frequently don’t allow the medication to work as intended and can all lead to serious medical issues. If you forget a dose, your symptoms might flare up, or your condition might take a turn for the worse. If you take a second dose too close to an initial dose, you run the risk of overdosing on that medication, which could result in serious side effects, hospitalization, or even death.
According to the CDC, patients fail to take medication as prescribed 50% of the time! In patients with chronic diseases, the majority end up slacking on their medication routine after just six months. For one reason or another, they don't stick with their prescribed treatment, forget to take their meds, or lapse into bad habits. Those bad habits can have life-threatening consequences.
It's also important to follow all the directions prescribed. For example, if a label says to take medication in the morning, don't try to take it at night instead. The body responds better to certain medications at different times of the day. If you remember your prescription but take it at the wrong time, the dose might lose its effectiveness. Likewise, if your doctor tells you to take a medication with food, pay attention and do as instructed, or else your body won't absorb the medication as well on an empty stomach.
To make your medication habitual and part of your daily schedule, various medication aids are available, to prompt you to take specific dosages at the right times. Incorporate these into your day-to-day procedures, so medicine can work, alleviate, and heal as intended:
- Integrate your medication into your routine. For example, tell yourself you'll take your medication when you brush your teeth in the morning, or when you eat breakfast. It'll become natural practice in your daily sequential actions.
- Use a pill container. You can tell at a glance if you've taken your doses for the day or not. There are many types of containers available to suit your needs. You can find containers that hold a week's worth of medication, or even a whole month's worth. Many have different compartments for different times of day (morning, noon, evening, bedtime, etc.), so you can keep track of timed doses more easily. All it takes is a little planning and pre-organization to ensure you stay on track for medication.
- Set an alarm. A talking alarm clock can give you a verbal message to take your pills. Use as many alarms as you need to cover all your daily doses, then go about your day with one less worry.
- Refill your pill containers at the same time each week or month. Remember to also plan ahead if you're going on vacation. Bring enough medication to cover you while you're away, with a few extra doses in case of emergency.
At KC Home Medical Supply, we offer medication aids to help you remember to take your medication exactly on time and as directed. Find the ones that suit your needs, and contact us for more information or guidance.