In a world full of appointments, meetings, practices, rehearsals, and never-ending to-do lists, we could all use a little help staying organized and remembering the most important things – like when to take our medications.
More than half of Americans take prescription medications each day, and those who do take an average of four different pills. On top of that, 70% of Americans over the age of 60 take a daily vitamin or supplement, with many taking two or more. That’s a lot to keep track of. Let’s talk about why it’s important to keep up with your medications and how to make the process as simple as possible.
Why your medication schedule matters
We’ve covered the importance of medication compliance – consistently taking your medications when you’re supposed to – before. It’s not something to be taken lightly, as the CDC estimates that 30 to 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and up to 125,000 deaths per year are caused by people not taking their prescription medications as prescribed. Despite that, nearly half of prescription medications are taken incorrectly or inconsistently.
Taking your medications every day isn’t the only part of taking medications correctly. When you take your medication often matters, too. Some medications work better with your body’s chemistry if you take them in the morning or evening, and time of day can impact whether you experience any unpleasant side effects. Sometimes you simply need to allow sufficient time between different medications for each one to work properly. Pay close attention to the instructions that come with your prescription to see what time you should take it. If you begin taking a new medication, take a moment when you pick it up to speak with the pharmacist to see if it matters when you take your medication or whether you need to space out multiple medications to avoid negative interactions. If you take vitamins or supplements, be sure to ask about possible interactions with those as well.
Tips for keeping up with your medication regimen
So how can you keep your medication and supplement schedule straight? There are a few steps to help keep you organized:
- Try to use the same pharmacy for all of your prescriptions. Using one pharmacy is not only more convenient for you, but it also allows the pharmacist to keep an eye out for potential drug interactions so they can help you plot your schedule.
- Keep a list of all medications you’re taking, including dose and schedule. Save it in a safe place so you can reference it as-needed.
- Use a pill organizer. Take a couple of minutes at the start of each week to fill your pill box organizer with the pills you need for the week, double-checking the instructions for any extra notes you’ll want to keep in mind (for instance, do you need to take your pills on an empty stomach, or should you have a snack ready?). With a pill organizer, you won’t have to try to remember if you already took your pill for the day (was that this morning, or was it yesterday; the days really do start to blend together). You can also keep track of which medication needs to be taken at what time.
- Set automatic refills, or request a refill once you see you are running low. Aim to have a refill in your home before you run out of your medication to avoid any gaps in your schedule.
It’s worth taking care to keep up with your medications on a consistent schedule in order to feel your best and ensure your treatments work the way they’re supposed to.
Whatever your Rx schedule – there’s a pill organizer for that!
Whether you have one medication to keep track of or a more complex regimen that requires you to take medications at different times throughout the day, we’ve got your covered.
- 1 pill per day: The Ezy Dose® Weekly Pill Planner, Rainbow, is a simple solution for tracking a daily medication. The seven compartments make it easy to plan a daily dose of medications, with bright rainbow lids allowing for easy identification of the days of the week. Each compartment holds up to 35 aspirin-sized tablets, making this an ideal option for a single medication or medications that can be taken at the same time with no adverse effects. This pill organizer features push buttons that easily pop open each compartment – no struggling to get to today’s pills and risking spilling everything out!
- 2 pills per day: The Ezy Dose® Weekly 2x/Day Pill Planner, Rainbow, is a great option if your routine includes medications that need to be taken in the morning and in the evening. Each day includes two compartments, clearly marked for day and night. As with the one time per day planner, each individual compartment can hold up to 35 aspirin-sized pills, each day is quickly identified by bright rainbow colors, and each compartment opens easily via push button. For a more compact, travel-friendly option, try the Ezy Dose® Weekly Rainbow AM/PM Pill Planner – a more portable pill organizer box that allows you to take each day’s pills out to take with you.
- 3 pills per day: What if you have medications that need to be taken in the morning, at noon, and at bedtime? Or what about medications that can interact and need to be spaced out? The Ezy Dose® Weekly 3x/Day Pill Planner, Rainbow, allows you to sort your medications into three distinct compartments per day. Days are labeled and color-coded, and each day can be removed from the storage box – perfect for slipping into a purse, briefcase, or lunchbox to take to work so you don’t miss that mid-day dose. Each individual compartment can hold up to 30 aspirin-sized pills.
- 4 pills per day: The Ezy Dose® Weekly (7-Day) Pill and Vitamin Organizer Box, 4 Times a Day, AM PM, Rainbow, is the ultimate solution for a more intensive regimen of medications and/or supplements. In addition to the labeled, color-coded, removable daily sections, this pill box features four compartments per day, clearly labeled for morning, mid-day, evening, and bedtime.
You have enough to keep track of without having to worry about whether you already took your medication for the day. Let a pill organizer do the thinking for you.
WebMD: Americans Taking More Prescription Drugs Than Ever
Harvard Health Publishing: Do you need a daily supplement?
FDA: Why You Need to Take Your Medications as Prescribed or Instructed
AARP: Timing When to Take Your Daily Medications
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Help for Managing Multiple Medications