It is often difficult to fit medications into your schedule, especially if you are taking numerous medications. The key to successful medication management is to find a system for organizing and remembering to take your medications that is right for you.
Here are some tips to help you manage your medication schedule:
- Incorporate taking medication into part of your daily routine. Take it right before or after another activity that you do on a daily basis, such as dressing, eating breakfast (ensure that the medication can be taken with food before trying this), taking a shower, or going to bed.
- Try placing the medication vial in a place where you will see it. Near the coffee pot or by the door are a couple of good places. Be sure that the place you choose is out of the reach of children and away from strong light, heat, and humidity.
- Create a dose tracker and mark the doses you have taken on a calendar.
- Use a compliance aid
- Blister pack: A blister pack is a special method of packing medications that many pharmacies offer, where each dose of medication is placed in a small plastic bubble and backed by a sheet of foil. Generally, each plastic bubble contains only one pill, but it may contain more depending on the dose of the medication (e.g., if the dose is for 2 pills, then 2 pills would be found in the same plastic bubble). A blister pack usually has enough doses for up to a week at a time. When it is time to take the medication, you simply push the pill(s) through the foil of the blister packing. This way, you can readily see which doses you have taken.
- Dosettes: A “dosette” is a container that allows you to store and organize your medications into compartments for specified times of the day (morning, noon, afternoon, and bedtime), usually for up to a week at a time. When it is time to take the medication, you take the pill(s) out of the compartment for the specified time. This way, you can see whether you have taken your last dose of medication. You can fill the dosette yourself, or have it filled by a pharmacist or nurse (which is a good idea if you have a complicated schedule). Dosettes may also come with alarms that beep when it is time for your next dose.
- Alarms: Alarms can be set to go off (beeping or vibrating) when it is time for a dose of your medication. You can use a watch, alarm clock, electronic organizer, or cell phone. Alarms are also found on some dosettes or medication containers.
Finding compliance aids
- Visit your local pharmacy: Visit your local pharmacy and ask for dosettes, prescription reminders, or other compliance aids. Talk to your pharmacist about which one would be best for you, and how you may order a compliance aid should it not available.
- Browse the Internet: Here are some compliance aid companies:
Dynamic Living: Shop for a variety of dosettes and alarms.
E-pill: Shop for a variety of watches, alarm clocks, pagers, dosettes, and medication caps that beep when it is time for the next dose.
WatchMinder: A programmable sports watch.
Online pharmacy sites.