Master Your Medicine: How to Remember to Take Your Medication

Keep forgetting to take your meds? Try these tricks.

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If you’re managing multiple medicines, remembering to take them can be tricky. “When you’re taking many medications, which include not only prescriptions, but [also] over-the-counter medications and supplements, it can be overwhelming,” says Preeti Parikh, MD, chief medical editor at HealthiNation and pediatrician at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

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 may be bad for your health.

If you find yourself having too many oops-I-forgot-to-take-my-medicine moments, you have options. Here are some tips to help you keep your medication routine on track:

TIP #1: Work your medications into your daily routine.

One of the best ways to remember to take your medications is to take them at set times during your normal routine. For example, if you take your medicine every day after breakfast or before brushing your teeth at night, you may be less likely to forget.

TIP #2: Set reminders.

If you have a hard time remembering to take your medicine, placing reminder notes where you can see them may be a big help. For example, place a brightly colored sticky note that says “Take your meds” on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator—somewhere where you know you’ll see it. Another way to give yourself a friendly reminder is to add it to your online calendar or set a backup alarm on your smartphone or clock.

TIP #3: Review your medicine schedule with your doctor.

If your medicine schedule is significantly affecting the quality of your life, tell your doctor. Your doctor may be able to change your medication routine by adjusting your dose, the type of medication you’re taking, or the time of day that you’re supposed to take your meds, says Dr. Parikh. For example, many people don’t know that certain medicines can come combined so you don’t have to worry about taking multiples.

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 and your doctor are a team. Your health is a top priority, and you and your doctor have to work together to find a treatment plan that works for you.

Want more ways to keep your medication routine on track? Here are tips to help you organize your medicine.