Many of us have had to take medication on a set schedule at some stage in our lives, but for some people, taking medication is a constant daily occurrence. It can be sometimes difficult to get used to a routine when taking medication.
If you find you have difficulty remembering to take your medication daily or at the same time everyday, there are techniques that you can try to help you stick to a routine.
Why is it important to remember to take your medication?
If you have been prescribed a medication, it is important to remember to take it. When your medications are not taken properly, the level of the drug in your system could drop too low, which means the treatment won’t be as effective.
It is especially important you remember to take antibiotics, because allowing the levels of the medication to drop too low could give your body a chance to become resistant to the antibiotics.
How often should you take your medication?
Always read the label and consult your pharmacist or doctor to find out how often you should be taking your medication.
As a general rule, medications must be taken regularly during the day, and evenly spaced out. This means if you have 12 hours when you will be awake, and you have to take three tablets a day, try to take one tablet every four hours. If you have set times when you usually take your meds, try to remember to take them within the hour of the scheduled time.
What happens if I miss a dose of medication?
It is important that you take all of the doses of medication in one day. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until your next dose is due, just continue as normal. Whatever you do, do not double dose your medication, as this could cause negative side effects.
While missing one dose is not of great concern, regularly missing doses can be a serious problem, so make sure you stay on top of your meds.
Do you have to eat when taking medication?
Whether or not you have to eat with your meds can depend on the type of medication you’re taking, which is why it’s important to make sure you follow the instructions that come with your medication.
If you are told to eat an hour before taking your medication, make sure you do, because this could affect how the medication is absorbed into your bloodstream.
How can I remember to take my medication?
It can be easy to forget to take your meds, but there are many different things you can try to remind yourself. Once you find the one that works for you, you’re far less likely to forget.
1. Learn about your medication
Learning about your medication is a good way to motivate yourself to remember to take them. If you understand your medical condition, how your medication works, and what could happen if you don’t take a dose, you are more likely to remember to take it. Learning about side effects is also a good idea so that you can spot it early on if you start to feel any unwanted effects.
2. Pill boxes
Pill boxes are used to help you remember which pills you should be taking, and on what days of the week. At a glance you will be able to see if you have taken your pills for the day, and how many you have taken. These pill boxes can be found in most pharmacies and are small enough to slip into a bag or a pocket to bring around during the day with you. Avoid leaving your pill box in a hot car, as it could affect your medication.
3. Pill reminder apps
There are plenty of apps that can help you track which medication you should be taking and when. Apart from setting manual reminders on your clock, there is an app called the drugs.com pill reminder app that can help you track all your medication at once. This app also helps you remember when you did and did not take your medication. It can also store photos of your medication if you prefer visual aids.
4. Setting an alarm
If you don’t want to download a specific app, you could simply set an alarm or reminder on your phone to go off at the same time every day to remind you to take your medication. Set the alarm to repeat so that you don’t have to switch it back on each day, you can just set it once and won’t have to worry about it again.
5. Calendar alerts
If you prefer not to use a mobile to track your medication, you can try using a paper calendar or diary. Mark the time down on the day that you are due to take the medication, and tick it or cross it off after you have taken it.
In order for this to work, you will need to make sure to update the calendar frequently. The main purpose of this is to get you into a regular routine to remember to take your medication.
6. Try to make your medication a part of your routine
Try tying your medication doses with a daily routine, such as eating breakfast, brushing your teeth or having a shower. Many people find it helpful to plan doses around breakfast, lunch and dinner, as these times are usually set every day.
It also helps to put your medication in an open area where they will be in plain sight – this can help jog your memory if you forget to take a dose. You must be careful when leaving your medication out as a reminder. Do not leave them in a place which is either too hot or cold for their storage requirements. If they need to be kept in the fridge, try posting sticky notes in other places to remind you of them. Be mindful to never leave your medication within reach of children or animals, as this could have serious consequences.
7. Get help from family members or friends
Many people take medication on a daily basis. Talk to other people you know who take medication on a regular basis and ask them what they do to make sure they take it each day.
If you are living with other people taking medication, or if you are on a number of different types of meds, it might be helpful to mark your medication with your name, the dose you should take, and what they are used for, so that there’s no mix up.
8. Ask your pharmacist to help you make your medication routine easier
If none of the above work, or you find you are still struggling to remember to take your meds correctly and at the right time, talk to your pharmacist or doctor and ask if they can help you to make your medication routine easier. For example, if you are struggling to remember to take medication three times a day, you could ask if there is a different medication that is used for the same reason that only needs to be taken once a day.
If you are in a situation where you have to take different medication at different times during the day to avoid reactions between the two, ask your doctor is there are any other medications which will not react. The aim of talking to your doctor and pharmacist is to lower to amount of times a day you need to take medication.