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Ask the Pharmacist:  How can I remember to take my medication?

News May 21, 2019 | CanadaOnlineHealth

Question:  I take three different prescription medications and they have to be taken at different times. One in the morning, one with every meal, and another on an empty stomach.  I often forget to take one and I’m really concerned that I’m not taking care of my health by forgetting my meds!  I’ve tried writing it all down on a list, but I then forget to look at my list! What can I do?

Answer: You’re definitely not alone in your struggle. We often hear from patients and caregivers who struggle with remembering when and how certain medications are supposed to be taken.     

We have a few ideas that many patients find helpful – and we hope you find them helpful as well.

5 Tips to Help You Remember Your Medication

  1. Marked Pill Boxes.    Most people know what pill boxes are and how they are used.   Along with simple unmarked boxes, there are pillboxes that have separate compartments for each day of the week and pill boxes that are also divided into different times of the day.   These are very handy for anyone who takes multiple pills per day.  They can even be carried with you in your day bag or purse – but remember, if you are traveling there are special considerations you need to keep in mind if you are traveling with medication.  Read our article about traveling with medication.
  2. Write it Down.  If you’re someone who likes task lists and to-do’s, having a list of your medications and the dose and time written down where you can see it is a handy idea. Use a desk calendar or wall calendar and make sure to update your calendar and refer to it daily. Keeping your calendar somewhere you will see it, such as the kitchen or washroom, is important.
  3. Electronic Reminders.  If you are tech savvy and have a reminder app on your phone, you can set up an electronic reminder to tell you when it is time to take your medication.  The key here is to make sure you have your medication with you if your alarm goes off reminding you to take your medication.  You can also set a reminder to remind you when it’s time for you to order your next prescription refill.
  4. Get into a routine.   Some people find it easy to remember to take their morning medication by leaving it near their toothbrush. They might remember to take their night medication by leaving it on the night stand.  Mid-day medications may be remembered by making sure it is taken with lunch.  Combining your medication timing along with part of your daily routine may help you remember.
  5. Make a Quick Call. If you are a caregiver or if you have a family member who needs to take medications at certain times of the day, you can consider setting up a reminder for yourself to call or text them to remind them to take their medications. While it may take a little time out of your day, peace of mind is worth the few minutes it takes – and it gives you a chance to check up on your loved one.

Remembering to take your medications can be tough at first if you are new to taking prescription medications at certain times, but over time you will get yourself into a regular routine for the sake of your health.  As always, should you have difficulty with your medication routine, speak to your pharmacist.

Was this article helpful?  Consider checking out these other articles on our site:

Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist about Your Prescription.

Take a Pill? Take a Spray? How you take your Medication is as Important as When.

6 Common Food and Prescription Medication Combinations to Avoid.

Why you Should Take your Medication at the Right Time.

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