Take your medicine the right way

December 2012

Tracking medications with a pill box

When your doctor prescribes medication, how you take it can be just as important as what you take. But taking medicine the right way can be tough, especially if you take more than one.

Taking medication the right way means:

  • Taking the right dose at the right time. When you don’t take medication as directed, symptoms may not improve and other health problems can occur.
  • Taking the medication for the amount of time prescribed by your doctor. — not stopping when you start to feel better (this is most common with antibiotics). If you’re not sure about when you can stop taking your medication, or have any other questions about your prescription, talk to your pharmacist or doctor right away.

You should also talk to your doctor if you’re having problems with side effects from the medication, or if the high cost of the medication is preventing you from taking it according to doctor’s instructions.

Rely on reminders

Try these tricks to help you remember to take your medicine.

Get into a routine
To help you keep track of when it’s time to take your medication, do it at the same time you do another routine activity, such as brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed.

Use visual cues
Keep prescribed medication at the kitchen table to remind yourself to take them with meals or leave them on your nightstand to take before going to bed. Just remember to keep them out of the reach of children.

Use pillboxes
Pillboxes are a great way to organize your medication. There are even electronic versions that light up when a dose is due.

Get alerts
Set an alarm on your cell phone or watch or use email reminders to help you remember to take your medicine. You can also use charts, calendars, or checklists.

Talk to your doctor
You may be able to change your medicines to fit your schedule better — for instance, by cutting the number of daily doses or using combination products if available. You may also be able to change the way the medicine is given — for instance, by using a skin patch instead of a pill.

Get refill reminders
Be sure not to run out of your medications. With some mail-order pharmacy services, including Humana's RightSource, you can get refill reminders.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist

To make sure your medicine is helpful and safe, learn as much as you can about your condition and treatment. Some of the questions to ask:

  • Why am I taking this medicine?
  • How does it work in my body?
  • How much should I take?
  • When should I take it?
  • Where should I keep the medicine? Does it require special storage, like being kept in the refrigerator?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?

Also ask your doctor what side effects you can expect when you take your medicine and tell her about any concerns you may have. Your doctor may be able to suggest ways to limit side effects, such as by taking medicines with food or at bedtime.

You should also give your doctor the information needed to help you stay safe. Sometimes, two or more medications can create a problem when taken together. To prevent this, make sure your doctor knows about all of the medicines you take. That includes vitamins, herbs, and other remedies you buy without a prescription. It can be helpful to keep a current list of all your medicines and share copies with your family, caregiver, and all healthcare providers. Another tip: try to get all your medicines from one drugstore that keeps records and can watch for possible interactions.

Research ways to reduce cost

If the high cost of your medication is a problem, consider these money-saving ideas.

Talk to your doctor
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to suggest less expensive medicines or a generic version.

Sign in on Humana.com
The Rx Calculator on MyHumana shows what you've spent on medicine so far this plan year and estimates future savings. Also look for more tools and resources on MyHumana.

Read your SmartSummary®
It includes information on your medicine and tips on how to save money. Bring your SmartSummary to your doctor's office and ask your doctor if any alternative medicines are right for you.

Track down patient assistance programs
Check the drug maker's websites for information. Some people are able to obtain medicines at little or no charge.

Get to know RightSource

If you have prescription coverage with Humana, you have access to RightSource, Humana’s mail-order pharmacy.

If you have prescription coverage with Humana, then you have access to RightSource®, Humana’s mail-order pharmacy. You can get 90-day prescriptions and refill reminders. To find out if you can save time and money with RightSource®, visit RightSourceRx.com or call 1-800-379-0092. Other mail-order pharmacies are available in our network. If you travel within the United States for a long period and use RightSource, then you can ask that they ship your refills to you at your temporary address.

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Bring the pharmacy to you

Order your medications online and have them mailed directly to you with mail order pharmacies, like RightSource Mail-Order Rx.

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