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Living Healthy

Juggling Multiple Medications Without Dropping the Ball

June 26, 2019

We all lead busy lives and have so many things to remember. Who hasn't wondered from time to time ... did I already take my meds or not? Whether it's for you or a loved one, managing multiple medications and potential interactions can be daunting. Luckily, there are tips and tricks to help you manage multiple prescriptions with confidence.

Juggling Multiple Medications

Without Dropping the Ball

It's estimated that nearly 40% of older Americans take five or more prescription drugs on a regular basis.1 The more you take, the more challenging it can be to stay on track and alert to potential side effects.

Tip #1: Be proactive

Get ahead of the confusion by making a plan, organizing and putting helpful tools in place.

  • Day-of-the-week pill boxes are a good start. Try one for morning, one for noon and one for night and make sure to label them.
  • Create a calendar or checklist that you can check off as you go. Keep it on the fridge or bathroom mirror.
  • Set an alarm or timer on your smartphone. You can even label each alarm.
Tip #2: Take as directed

Read all warnings and instructions that come with your prescriptions.

  • Read the instructions and warnings in a well-lit area.
  • You can ask your pharmacy for larger print on the label.
  • Keep a file of the instructions and warnings in case you want to refer to it later.
Tip #3: Use one pharmacy

Get to know your pharmacists, and fill all your prescriptions with them.

  • Keeping all your records in one place is more convenient and safe.
  • Set auto-reminders so you refill on time and don’t run out.

Start a healthy dialog about everything you take, so your pharmacists can look out for potential side effects and interactions with:

  • Other prescriptions
  • Over-the-counter meds
  • Vitamins and herbal supplements
  • Even certain foods
Tip #4: Make it your routine

Take your meds at the same time every day. It makes it easier to remember when it’s part of your daily routine. Find times that line up with your dosage instruction, such as:

  • Immediately after you brush your teeth each morning and/or night.
  • Right when you wake up. Hint: Set your pill box on your nightstand.
  • When you wash your hands before a meal.
Tip #5: Keep a list

Make a list of all the medications and supplements you take, including name of drug and dosage. Remember to:

  • Include prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and vitamins ... everything.
  • Keep it in a place that is easy to update, like a file on your desktop.
  • Carry a copy in your wallet or purse so you can bring it to doctor visits and share with loved ones or caregivers.
Tip #6: Enlist a reminder service

If a medical condition is making it even harder to keep track of your prescription schedule, there are medical alert companies you can hire to remind you by:

  • Phone call
  • Text
  • Calendar alert

Be sure to check with your insurance plan — this kind of service might even be covered in your benefits.

By taking a few small steps, managing multiple medications can get a lot easier!

1https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/caregiver_resources/help-for-managing-multiple-medications