Managing Your Medicines
When you have to take medication, following some simple steps can help you keep track of your regimen. These tips can help safeguard you from overlapping treatments, improper dosing and drug interactions.
- Collect all of your medicines in one place, including over-the-counter medicines.
- Check the expiration date on each bottle and throw out anything expired. (If you have questions about medication expirations, you can always ask your pharmacist.)
- Make a list with the names of each medication you take (including over-the-counter ones), and the dose and times you take it. Update the list whenever you add a new medication.
- Keep your medication list at home and keep a copy in your wallet, pocket or purse. Each time you go to a doctor, clinic or hospital, simply show your list to the doctor or nurse.
- When you get your prescriptions filled, ask for a printed information sheet about each medicine, so you know the medication's purpose, whether it's taken with food, the possible side effects, proper storage and other medicines to avoid.
Common Medication Problems and Solutions
Here are some common reasons that people find it difficult to take medicine, along with some ideas to help you deal with these issues.
If your medicines are too expensive:
- Check your insurance plan to see if it covers some of the cost of your medications.
- Ask for generics, since they're the same drug as brand names and cost less.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about samples. Some drug companies give free medicine to people in need.
If you find that medications taste bad, you can try to:
- Chew on ice to dull your taste buds before taking your pills.
- Chew gum, use mouthwash, or suck on mints or hard candies after taking your pills to lessen the unpleasant taste.
- If your diet allows, eat a spoonful of peanut butter before taking your pills. The peanut butter will coat your mouth and you'll taste less of the pill.
If you think pills are too big to swallow:
- Check with your pharmacist to find out if there is a liquid form of the medicine.
- If your pharmacist approves it, cut or crush large pills and mix them into liquid or food.
If you have trouble opening "childproof" caps:
- Ask your pharmacist to give you "easy-to-open" caps.
- Store any "easy-to-open" medicine bottles away from children or pets.