Taking Your Medication On Time DR. KARL SIMON, PHARMD, BCGP & DR. JONATHAN PARK, PHARMD
ifty percent of individuals do not take prescription medications as prescribed. This non-adherence can cause a decrease in overall health and is the leading cause of preventable death and increased healthcare costs around the world.
management of your medications. Each “bubble” contains your medication for that day and you will “punch” that bubble on the calendar date. •
Medication Synchronization: If you are on several medications and make multiple trips to the pharmacy, this will allow your medications to be filled at the same day every month. Saves times and money!
Additional Support Resources: Your local community or pharmacy may have additional programs to support your medication and lifestyle needs. Ex. Free blood glucose or blood pressure screenings.
Consult with your primary care physician or senior care pharmacist: If you think you are experiencing side effects or do not fully understand the reasons for taking your medications speak with your physician or senior care pharmacist to discuss alternative therapies. Your pharmacist will also be able to help with managing the costs and complexity of your medications.
Why don’t patients take medications on time? Patients who intend to take medications as prescribed usually encounter one or more barriers that cause medication non-adherence. There are several barriers and they can be classified as patient related or treatment related. Patient related barriers are behaviors exhibited by the patient and includes forgetfulness/motivation, denial of medical condition, lack of understanding of treatments and lack of support. Patient Related Barriers •
Forgetfulness/Motivation: Not remembering to take medications on time
Denial: Thinking that medication is not necessary, will try other methods to treat medical condition
Health Literacy: Not fully understanding the importance for medications especially for diseases with no physical symptoms ex. high cholesterol
Lack of Support: No family or social support to encourage healthy lifestyle habits
About the authors: Dr. Karl Simon is a Board-Certified Geriatric (Senior Care) Pharmacist and the owner of Suwanee Pharmacy in Suwanee, GA. Dr. Jonathan Park is a recent graduate of the Philadelphia College of Medicine (PCOM) School of Pharmacy in Suwanee, GA and is seeking employment opportunity within Geriatrics or Outcomes Research.
Treatment related barriers are directly related to the medication and includes cost, side effects, complexity of therapy and accessibility. Treatment Related Barriers •
: Cannot afford medications with or without
Side Effects: Medication causing undesired effects
Complexity: Too many medications at different times of the day
Accessibility: Lack of transportation, medication unavailability, long wait times
What can I do to help me take my medications on time? Taking medications on time can be challening and requires a personal commitment to your health. After all, how would you know if your medications are working if not taken as presrcibed? Here are a few ideas to help with managing your medications. •
Use a pill box: Place your medications in a pill box, depending on your medication regimen there are various types of boxes that will allow multiple administration times.
Set a reminder/alarm on your cell phone: If you are taking medications throughout the day set an alarm on your phone.
There’s an app for that! There are several “medication reminder” apps for your smart phone both on the android and apple operating systems.
Daily Routine: Create a daily routine and incorporate your medications into it. Ex. If you take a medication at bedtime then leave that medication on your night stand next to your favorite book or next to your phone charger.
Bubble Packaging/Punch Card: This allows easy access and G EN ERATI O N S M AG AZI N E 1 9