Does your medication routine “spark joy”?
When you’re prescribed multiple medicines, keeping them organized can be tricky. Managing many medications may cause you to forget to take your medications at the correct times, or even be tempted to skip your medications altogether. Skipping, changing, or ignoring your medications can be bad for your health.
Whether it’s your workspace, bedroom, or medication regimen, tidying up your life can provide a lot of stress relief (just ask organization guru Marie Kondo). If you’re taking many different medicines, keeping your pills organized can help you keep your treatment plan on track. Here are some tips to help you tidy up your medication routine:
TIP #1: Ask your doctor about combining your meds.
If your medicine schedule is significantly affecting the quality of your life, tell your doctor. You may have options to switch up your medications or routine.
“A lot of medications are now available in combination form, so you can have two to three medications combined,” says Preeti Parikh, MD, chief medical editor at HealthiNation and a pediatrician at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
TIP #2: Use a pill box.
“Use a weekly pill box to keep your medicines organized by the day or by the week,” says Punkaj Khanna, PharmD, a pharmacist based in New York City. Some brands even allow you to sort your pills by time of day.
TIP #3: Keep a medication chart.
Track your regimen on a chart or schedule and mark each medication as you take it. There are also apps and online tools that can help you keep track and set reminders to take your medication on time.
TIP #4: Try mail-order prescriptions.
Talk with your doctor about home delivery pharmacies that pre-pour medications and put them in blister packaging for you. This will take the guesswork out of sorting your own medicines—and save you trips to the pharmacy!
TIP #5: Get to know your pharmacist.
“Talking to your pharmacist about your drug regimen is a great tool,” says Khanna.
Find a pharmacist and/or pharmacy that you like and consider sticking with them. Using one pharmacy can help your pharmacist(s) get to know you, and be able to review your medications and help flag any issues. Your pharmacist may also be able to work with you and your health care team to find ways to reduce the number of pills you take or address any other challenges you have.
Some pharmacies or prescription drug programs offer Medication Therapy Management (MTM) programs to review and track medications for certain people. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Understanding your medications and taking them as directed is just as important to your health as getting enough exercise and eating a nutritious diet. “Remember, you, your pharmacist, and your doctor will make up a team to help [you] reach your optimal health,” says Dr. Parikh.
Medication Adherence. American Medical Association. (Accessed on April 4, 2019 at https://edhub.ama-assn.org/steps-forward/module/2702595)
Understanding Medication Adherence. CardioSmart, American College of Cardiology. (Accessed on April 4, 2019 at https://www.cardiosmart.org/News-and-Events/2015/07/Understanding-Medication-Adherence)
Let's Talk About Medication Adherence. CardioSmart, American College of Cardiology. (Accessed on April 4, 2019 at https://www.cardiosmart.org/~/media/Documents/Infographics/Medication-Adherence.ashx)