When patients don’t take their medicine as prescribed, it costs big time. Not only can your health and longevity be affected, but the healthcare industry as a toll takes a hit, having to carry the burden of return hospital visits and emergency procedures which can result from patients not adhering to their medicine schedules. There is a variety of reasons patients might not take their prescriptions correctly including cost, complex medicine schedules, confusion, health illiteracy, and simple forgetfulness. These smart tips, however, can help:
Use a Pill Organizer
Some of the hurdles with taking your medicine as prescribed may not simply be around remembering to take your medicine, but rather, organizing and sorting through various medications that have long, complicated names and similar-looking appearances. Prescription bottles largely look the same too (when it comes to oral pills) – semi-translucent orange cylinders with white printed labels slapped across them and white safety lids.
For patients who take multiple prescriptions a day, taking the time to double check the label, open each bottle, and pull out the correct pill can be a hassle full of human error. Enter a simple and effective solution – pill organizers! The best pill organizer will feature color-coded labels that sort your pills by the time of day and the day of week. Easy to open, close, and fill, pill organizers can boost medicine adherence and simplify life for patients and their caregivers.
Reduce Medicine Frequency
Is a complicated medicine schedule preventing you from successfully taking your prescriptions each day? The stark reality is that many people, especially patients with chronic illness, could be on a variety of medicines prescribed by multiple doctors that each have their own requirements, i.e. eat with food, eat without food, take mid-day, don’t take with a multi-vitamin, etc. Keeping track of it all can be confusing, especially for aging seniors with existing cognitive decline.
Talk with your doctor about reducing the frequency at which you take medicines, to simplify your medicine schedule and help you better stay on track. For example, if you take medicine at morning and night and are prescribed an antibiotic you have to take three times a day, ask your doctor if you can instead take the same dosage antibiotic but only twice a day when you take your other medicine. Physicians will be amenable to adjusting medicine frequencies while still getting you the dosage you need.
Try an App
If you are trying to stick with a strict schedule for taking medicine but life keeps getting in the way and you forget, try using a medicine adherence and reminder app for your smartphone. Downloadable apps like Pill Reminder from Drugs.com, Pillboxie, Care Zone and Medisafe offer intuitive and effective features which can help you stay on top of your medicine schedule and take control of your health.
In addition to alerting you when it is time to take your prescriptions, apps like these help you look up drug side effects and interactions, remind you when it is time to refill your prescriptions, let you log daily health symptoms, and even help you coordinate care contacts. Some research has shown that additionally alerting caregivers through medication management apps actually helps their loved ones stick to their prescription schedules better as well.
Address Financial Limitations
The bottom line is prescriptions can be expensive, very expensive. For some patients, refilling prescriptions on time and sticking to a prescribed medicine schedule may depend on the affordability of said medication. When insurance doesn’t cover enough of the cost of medicine, what are patients left to do? Luckily, there are some cost-cutting measures that can help.
International online pharmacies offer secure ways for patients to get drugs shipped to them from outside the U.S. for a fraction of what they would pay at their local pharmacy. Online savings can also be found through prescription drug coupon websites. And asking your doctor for free samples or for manufacturers coupons is another feasible idea, as pharmaceutical representatives often leave these in offices for doctors to hand out.