Taking medications every day may seem like an easy thing to do. But for many people, it can be a burden on their daily lives – especially when trying to manage more than one medication. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50% percent of the time, medication is not taken as prescribed. There are several common reasons for this including forgetfulness, lack of understanding, disbelief that the treatment is necessary, high costs and side effects.
High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are a few common chronic conditions that may require daily medications to help control. When these medications are not taken as prescribed by your provider, conditions can worsen and possibly lead to hospitalizations, disability or even death.
Remember that it is also important to talk with your provider or pharmacist about all over-the-counter medications, supplements and herbal products you take or are considering taking. These can interact with and potentially cause an adverse reaction with your prescription medications. For example, they may decrease the effectiveness of a medication.
If your provider has prescribed medication for any health conditions, it is important to get the prescription filled and take the medication as instructed. This means taking the right dose, at the right time and frequency, and in the right way. If you have any concerns at all, talk with your provider or pharmacist to ensure you are taking your medications safely!
Consider these things with new or ongoing medication orders:
- Talk with your provider about 90-day refills and choose a pharmacy that accepts refill orders for this quantity.
- If a specialist such as a cardiologist prescribes a medication, ask if they need to manage refills or if you can go through your primary care provider.
- If possible, try to have all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy so your pharmacist can see all your prescribed medications and alert you if there are concerns.
- See if your prescription drug benefits include a mail order pharmacy. This benefit often offers cost savings and eliminates an extra trip to the pharmacy.
Here are some tips for taking medications correctly:
- Talk with your provider about side effects or other concerns.
- Make sure you understand how long you need to take the medication.
- Let your doctor know if cost is a problem.
- Set daily routines for taking your medications.
- Keep medications where you will notice them.
- Use a daily dosing pillbox or other container.
- Keep a written or computerized schedule (consider using an app or online program).
Following your medication routine, along with recommended lifestyle changes, can greatly improve your overall health and reduce the risk of serious complications. There are many tools and resources to consider. Ask your health care team for help finding options that are the best fit for you.
Have questions about your health? Contact your Colorado Physician Partners practice today. Our practices have care coordinators who can help you achieve your health goals and stay on track with your medications! They can also help you navigate the health care system and connect you with medical and non-medical services. Learn more about care coordination.