Taking Medicines as Prescribed - Overcoming Barriers to Taking Your Medicines
For more information, see the topic
Reducing Medication Costs.
"It's hard to keep track of so many medicines."
"I forget when and how to take all of these medicines."
"Sometimes I just forget to take my medicines."
What you can do
- Ask your doctor which medicines you are taking
and why you are taking them, and then make a list. If you understand what you
are taking and how it is helping you, it may be easier to stay on schedule.
master list of medicines(What is a PDF document?), and keep it up to date. At every visit with your doctor,
review your master list of medicines.
- Plan a daily schedule of
medicines. Be sure you understand how much of each medicine to take and when to
take each one. Put your schedule somewhere where you will always see it and
where it's easy to find. Take it along when you travel. Write down your daily
medicine schedule in a
form that has spaces for time entries(What is a PDF document?).
- Use a pillbox. Get a pillbox
that holds a week's worth of pills. This may be especially helpful if you are
taking pills every other day.
- Remind yourself. Post notes near
clocks or on the bathroom mirror to remind you to take your medicines. Use a
wristwatch with an alarm, and set it when you need to take your medicine. Take
the medicine when you do a daily task, such as brushing your teeth or making
- Ask your doctor whether you can take a longer-acting
medicine instead of a shorter-acting one. This means you'll be able to take
fewer pills. This may make it easier for you to remember to take your
- If you use several inhaler medicines, put a label on each one so that you know which one to use at the right time.
- Talk with your doctor about what you should do if you
miss a dose of a medicine. Discuss what to do for each medicine—it may be
different for each one.