Ever forget to take your medications? Believe it or not, you are not alone. In over 50% of cases, medications are not taken as prescribed. In addition 20-30% of prescriptions are never filled. Use of reminders to improve medication adherence saves the health care system billions of dollars!
Not taking medications as prescribed can be extremely dangerous. Research by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and publications by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine have featured ways to increase medication adherence. Use these simple tips to keep healthy!
1. Use a Pill Box
If you take medications everyday, a pill box can be a simple, cheap way to keep track of your medication use. Most pill boxes are labeled as days of the week. Each week you can fill your pill box with the medications you plan to take that week. If you happen to forget a day, you will later see that your pills are still in the box. What is better is the cheap cost! You can even find pill boxes in the dollar store! Your local pharmacy or drug store will carry a multitude of pill boxes in different colors, shapes and sizes. Some pill containers are made for you to carry along with you throughout your busy day.
2. Cell Phone Reminders
In this day in age, who doesn’t have a cell phone? Cell phone reminders are a fantastic way to track your medication use. Many medication regimens require you to pop the bottle multiple times a day. Likewise, cell phones usually allow multiple alarms to be set. Many times, the alarms can be set to go off everyday at the same time. This makes cell phone reminders an ultimate way to remind yourself to take your medications!
3. Phone a Friend
Do you find yourself on the phone often? Perhaps you end up talking to the same friend around the same time everyday. These types of schedules are perfect environments to remind a friend to take their medications. Elderly patients often need a personal reminder to take their medications. Calling your elderly mom daily would be a great way to keep in contact as well as serve as a medication reminder.
4. Sticky Notes
Let’s get old school. Sticky notes are a simple and cheap way to remind yourself about your medications. Waking up early in the morning to see a sticky note on your bathroom mirror might be exactly what you need to remember to take your medications.
5. Pharmacy Refill Reminders
Last but not least, your friendly pharmacy could help you keep track of your medication use. It costs Americans an estimated $100 Billion in unfilled and not picked up prescriptions. Many pharmacies offer a refill reminder service that should remind you when your medications are due to be refilled. If you are due for a refill and still see many pills left in your box, you may not be taking your medication as prescribed.
All in all, remembering to take your medications is an extremely important part of your healthcare plan. Following these medication reminder tips could help keep you alive and healthy!
Sources: Center of Disease Control, Osterberg L, Blaschke T. Adherence to medication. N Engl J Med 2005;353:487-497