Ways to manage multiple medications
About 40 percent of patients with chronic heart failure have five or more other serious conditions1, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity and depression. This creates special challenges, such as making sure all medicines are taken at the right times.
You can help your loved one develop a schedule if he or she takes more than one drug. Here are five ideas:
- Match taking medications with his or her daily activities, such as brushing the teeth, eating meals (keep drugs at the table), walking a pet or drinking the first cup of coffee or tea in the morning.
- Set up a daily/weekly pill box divided into morning, noon and night if medications are taken several times a day. This reminds him or her if doses are missed.
- Set up alarms or sign up for daily text reminders. Two options are MyHumana.com/takemymedicine and the RightSource® mobile app.
- Find a pill buddy to remind him or her to take medications—and your loved one can remind the buddy as well.
- Talk with the doctor about possibly switching drugs to fit his or her daily schedule, using combination products or changing dosage forms (i.e., transdermal patch). Ask if any drugs are no longer needed.
Common medicines for heart failure:
- ACE⁄ARB: Makes it easier for heart to pump, helps heart muscle work better and can lower blood pressure.
- Beta blockers: Block the body’s response to some substances that can damage the heart and help heart muscle work better; can lower blood pressure and heart rate.
- Statins: Block a step in the body’s production of cholesterol.
- Diuretics: Get rid of excess water in legs, feet and lungs if fluid buildup is a problem.
1Lang, Mancini, Non-Cardiac comorbidities in Chronic Heart Failure, 2007.