Medicines can help you manage your health, but only if you take them
correctly. If you're having problems taking your medicine as
prescribed, try thinking about why you're having trouble.
You might not be sure why your medicine is important or if it is working.
Maybe you just can't remember to take your medicine every day. Or perhaps
you're having a hard time paying for medicines or dealing with side effects. If
so, these tips might help.
Remembering your medicines
Plan a daily schedule of your medicines and how
and when to take them. Put your schedule where you can see it. Take it with you
when you travel.
Get a pillbox that holds a week's worth of pills.
Be sure to leave at least one pill in the original bottle. That way, if you
forget what a pill is for, you can find it in the bottle it came
Post notes near clocks or on the bathroom mirror to remind
you to take your medicines.
Take your medicine when you do another
daily task, such as brushing your teeth or making morning coffee. This will
help make taking medicine into a routine.
Set your watch, kitchen
timer, or computer calendar to remind you when to take your
Figure out how long your bottle of medicine will last. Put
refill reminders on your calendar so you won't run out of medicine.
If you get interrupted before you can take your medicine, keep the
bottle in your hand. This will help you remember to take it later.
Paying for medicines
It's not a good idea to
try to save money by taking only half a dose or by taking your medicines less
often. If you don't take the right amount of medicine at the right time, it
won't work the way it should.
Is there a lower-cost medicine you
can take? Ask your doctor. Maybe you can take a generic medicine. Or there may
be another way that you could save money, such as buying medicines in bulk or
through a mail-order service.
Check with pharmacies in your area to
compare prices for the medicines you need.
Some drug companies have programs that help
people who can't afford medicine. Your state may also have a program that
provides drugs at a lower cost. Ask your doctor for help finding one of these
programs. You can find out more information at www.pparx.org.
When to call your doctor
If you're having a problem with your medicine, don't just
stop taking it. Keep in mind that your medicines can help you avoid
complications that could happen because of your health problem. Talk
to your doctor first if:
You're having a problem with side effects. You may be able to take a different medicine. Or your
doctor may have ideas about how to reduce side effects. If an upset stomach is
the problem, for example, ask if you can take the medicine with
You feel that your medicine isn't working. Keep in mind that some medicines take time to work.
Your medicine is too hard to use. Ask your doctor about ways
to make taking it easier. For example, if you use an inhaler, ask your doctor
to show you how to use it. If you need to give yourself shots, ask your doctor for tips on how to make it
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.