Taking your medications as directed

Man reads medication label in kitchen.

Medicine works best when it’s taken the right way. This means:

  • Taking the right dose at the right time
  • Taking the medication for the complete amount of time prescribed by your doctor

This may seem simple, but it can be easier said than done. There are reasons why some people can’t always follow their doctor’s orders. For instance, some medicine may be too expensive or some people may have experienced uncomfortable side effects that keep them from staying on track. Not to mention, life is busy!

Taking your medicine as directed is an important step in staying healthy. Here are helpful tips to keep your medicine filled and on schedule, plus reminders on why this is important.

Reminders, reminders, reminders

Setting up reminders to yourself can help you remember to take your medicine at the right time. A few ways you can remind yourself are to:

  • Set your phone to get an alert when it’s time to take your medicine
  • Post little notes around your home in areas you use most, like in the bathroom or on your nightstand
  • Set visual cues around your home, such as placing a pill bottle on the side of a table you use regularly
  • Ask about refill reminders from your pharmacist

How to manage multiple medications and get organized

More than 40% of older adults take 5 or more prescriptions a day,2 so more and more people are looking for tips and tricks on how to create new helpful habits to remember when to take their medicine. Keeping your medications organized can help eliminate stress and confusion about which medications are taken when. Here are 6 tips to keep you organized and stress free:

  • Pill dispensers—Use a pill dispenser to easily locate and plan out which pills to take on what days and at what time of the day.
  • Refills—Keep a calendar of prescription refill dates, so you can get an early start on refills. This way you won’t miss a dose or have a lapse in schedule. You can also order medications in 90-day supplies from a mail-delivery pharmacy, such as Humana Pharmacy., opens new window
  • You’ll have more of your medications on hand and Humana Pharmacy® will send you refill reminders when you’re about to run out.
  • Go digital—Use digital tools, such as web or mobile apps, to keep track of all your medications. You can use RxMentor® on MyHumana or download the app to set up your medication list.
  • Daily habits and routine—Wake up, brush your teeth, wash your face and take your medicine. Taking your medicine as part of your regular routine will help to create a healthy habit and seamlessly incorporate your prescriptions.
  • One pharmacy—Filling prescriptions in one pharmacy will help the pharmacist know what you are taking and if anything will have interactions or side effects. Your pharmacist can also do what is called “medication synchronization.” This is where your pharmacist will coordinate your refills, so you can pick them all up on the same day.
  • Talk with your doctor—Check with your doctor and see if there are any other medications that can reduce a challenging schedule, like a transdermal patch or alternate medication.

Ways to save

Sometimes medications can get pricey. You may be able to reduce your costs with these options:

  • Consider generics. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about switching to a generic version of a brand-name prescription. Generics have the same active ingredients and typically cost less.1
  • Consider mail-delivery pharmacies. Mail-delivery pharmacies can provide plenty of benefits, such as low copays depending on your plan. Their mail-delivery pricing may lower the cost of your medications, providing a 90-day supply and eliminating trips to the pharmacy.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist

Medicine works best when it’s taken the right way. Taking too much, missing a dose or stopping your medicine because you’re feeling better or you don’t feel like it’s working may cause problems with how the medicine works.

If you’re unsure when to stop taking your medication, you’re having problems with side effects, you can’t afford the medication prescribed or you have any other questions, talk to your pharmacist or doctor right away.

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.

Sources

  1. “Generic Drug Facts,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, last accessed September, 9, 2018, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/genericdrugs/ucm167991.htm., opens new window
  2. “Help for Managing Multiple Medications,” John Hopkins Medicine, last accessed August 16, 2018, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/caregiver_resources/help-for-managing-multiple-medications., opens new window

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