Nearly one in three Americans take five or more medications daily. Beyond just remembering to take them, there are other considerations, such as when to take each one and the amount of each dose.
That’s where having a strategy to manage multiple medications comes in. It’s important to have a plan to help decrease the risk of medication interactions and side effects and also to help ensure you’re taking the correct medications and getting the right doses.
I recommend patients start with doing a little research and seeking out resources about their conditions. This will help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment. It will also help you be more prepared for appointments with your physician. You’ll be able to ask questions and get any concerns addressed.
When meeting with your physician, bring all of the medications you’re currently taking or a list of your medications with current doses. It’s important to make sure you include all supplements and over-the-counter medications you’re currently taking because these may interact or cause side effects. Also, bring in a list of medications you’ve tried in the past that did not work. This helps us understand what wasn’t effective so we don’t prescribe it again. Consider specific appointments to review and discuss medications. Also, make sure you have a connection to insurance formulary to assure cost-effective meds are being prescribed.
When taking multiple medications, it really helps to stay organized. Here are a few strategies that can help you remember to take the right meds at the right time:
- Create a chart to track when you take your medications.
- Log when you take your medications on a calendar or in a journal.
- Use an app to remind you to take your medications on time. A simple phone alarm also works.
- Use a pill box to physically see what medications you’ve already taken and which ones you still need to take.
- Recruit a spouse, family member or friend to help.
If you need additional tips or ideas for managing your medications, reach out to your primary care physician or health insurance provider. Both can help you find a system that works for you so you never miss a dose.