7 Tips for Keeping Medications Organized

ID-100130998For patients suffering from mental illness and other health issues, mixing drugs is a balancing act akin to walking a high tightrope. Not only do you have to ensure that your depression medication isn’t going to counteract with your asthma medication, you also have to stay on top of refills. The most important thing is that you’re following your doctor’s orders and taking medications exactly as prescribed. For someone who is taking two or more prescriptions daily, this is harder than it sounds. It requires a great deal of organization and the ability to follow instructions closely.

1. Keep a prescription calendar. You can program your phone to issue an alarm when it’s time to take a prescription. If you carry a date book, write the days and times you’re supposed to take your pills in there. It’s also useful to keep pills organized in a dated pill container.

2. Download a prescription application. There are many useful applications for managing prescriptions. Apps, are free and designed to provide you with drug information, pharmacy locations, pricing, and alerts for when to take your medication. The drug information section is especially useful, because it tells you the pill’s side-effects and provides instruction on how to ingest the medication.

3. Never take a day off. Unless your doctor recommends changing your dosage, you’re supposed to take your medication exactly as described. Try taking pills at the same time every day, in order to build up a routine. Eventually, if you stick with it, taking your meds will become like second nature.

4. Avoid mixing the wrong medications. You should always be upfront and honest with your medical providers about what you’re taking. You never know when one medication is going to interact negatively with another. If you’re visiting your psychiatrist, and he suggests a new depression medication, make sure to remind him you’re taking something for a pre-existing medical condition. For example, if you have asthma, he may suggest you make a switch and buy Advair for your asthma, because it doesn’t interact with the new drug.

5. Know the side-effects. Nearly all prescription drugs come with some known side-effects. If you’re attempting to organize your medications, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the side-effects too. The potential risk of taking medications with conflicting side-effects is high, so confer with your doctor and familiarize yourself with your medication’s side-effects. You may have to take different medications at different times of the day, in order to avoid the side-effects.

6. Follow the instructions. Some of your medications may require that you take them with food or drink, while others do not. This is yet another reason not all medications can be swallowed at the same time. Life would be easier that way, but unfortunately it can have some disastrous effects. If one pill requires you take it with food, but another doesn’t, you shouldn’t be taking them at the same time. Take these pills at different times of the day.

7. Never store conflicting medications together. If you know two prescriptions that react badly to one another, do not store them together. You don’t want to accidentally confuse the pills or take them together. The best way to ensure you’re safeguarded against human error is to keep conflicting medications far away from one another.

When it comes to taking medications, there is such a thing as over-prescribing or polypharmacy. If you feel like the amount of medications you’re taking is taking over your life, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your prescriptions. You may also want to get a second opinion about your medications, to ensure you’re on the very best ones for your body and lifestyle.

 

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