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Pain Management Health Center

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Taking Medicines as Prescribed - Overcoming Barriers to Taking Your Medicines


For more information, see the topic Keeping Track of Medicines.


"I keep getting interrupted before I can take my medicine."

"My schedule keeps changing, so it's hard to remember to take my medicine."

What you can do

  • Ask the person interrupting you to wait while you take your medicine.
  • Keep your medicine in your hand. You will be more likely to take it later.
  • Will the schedule change affect your medicine schedule? Be sure to make time to take your medicine.
  • Place a reminder someplace where you will see it, such as in your car or on a house key.


"I run out of my medicine."

What you can do

  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how long your medicine will last. Then mark on a calendar when you need to get a refill of your medicine.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe a large supply of medicine with many refills. For example, if you're taking a medicine long-term, ask for a 3-month supply with a year's worth of refills.
  • Ask your pharmacist if there are ways the pharmacy can remind you to refill your medicines so you don't run out.


"I feel good, so I don't take my medicine."

"I don't think my medicine is working."

What you can do

  • Remember that you feel good because you're taking the medicine.
  • Remember that some health conditions, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, don't make you feel sick. But medicine can lower your risk of serious problems, such as a heart attack and stroke.
  • Remember that some medicines do not help right away-they take time.
  • Remember that your medicines can help you prevent complications that could happen because of your health problem.
  • Talk to your doctor about your concerns.


"I need to use an inhaler, but it's too hard to use."

"I have to give myself a shot, and it's hard for me."

"It's hard for me to swallow pills."

What you can do

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to use your inhaler. Using a device called a spacer may make it easier.
  • Ask your doctor about medicines that don't require an inhaler.
  • Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or diabetes educator for advice or tips on giving yourself shots.
  • Try these tips for swallowing medicines.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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