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I'm having trouble remembering to take my medications. Is there anything to help me remember?

Having trouble remembering to take medication is a common concern.  Forgetting to take medication can be related to how many times a day a medication is prescribed.  The more often a medication is prescribed, the more likely it is that the medication will be forgotten. Some medications are available as an extended-release form, which allows the medication to be taken less frequently. A physician or pharmacist will know if a medication is available as a once a day medication. It is important to know that medications taken once a day can be more expensive than medications given multiple times a day.

For some people, forgetting to take medications is due to the medication not being part of a routine. One way to make taking medication a part of a routine is the use of a pillbox or “pill minder.” Pillboxes come in a variety of sizes and can have spaces for taking medications up to four times a day. Fill a pillbox once a week and place it in an area it will be easily seen.

For some people, an easily seen area is near the coffee pot or another area on the kitchen counter, especially for medications taken in the morning. Placing medication near the alarm clock works well, especially if medications are taken in the morning and at bedtime. Another tip is to set an alarm on a phone when it is time to take medication. What is most important is to find a method that works for you. Ideally, the method is associated with something you do every day. Just remember to store medications in a cool, dry place and away from children or pets. Additionally your health care provider may refer an outreach team or visiting nurses to help assist people in taking their medications. If you have any further questions about ways to help you remember to take your medications, talk to your physician or a pharmacist.

Author:  Bridget Bradley, PharmD.

References:
  1. Osterberg L, Blaschke T. Adherence to Medication. N Engl J Med. 2005;353:487-97.<
  2. Haynes RB, Yao X, Degani A, Kripalani S, Garg A, McDonald HP. Interventions for enhancing medication adherence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005; CD000011.

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