Over the past few decades, healthcare has shifted its focus to preventative care which has generated an increase in medication use. This boost in medication use created new challenges, including medication interactions and side effects, overprescribing and unintentional medication misuse. These challenges demonstrate the importance of medication management, but complex dose regimens, busy schedules, age related changes, and caregiver roles make this task difficult to execute. We can conquer these difficulties by constructing a medication management action plan.
The first step is to perform a drug inventory by gathering all of your prescriptions, over the counter medications and vitamins. Properly dispose any expired or unused medications at a police station medication drop off.
Secondly, use your drug inventory to generate a medication card listing allergies, doctors, pharmacy, and most importantly, medications with strengths, directions and dosing times. Bring this card to your pharmacy and doctor visits in order to keep the information updated and ensure appropriate medication use.
Thirdly, evaluate your medication directions and your schedule to create a daily medication routine. Creating a routine is the hardest step in the process due to complex medication regimens, daily schedules, caregiver roles and because plans can change unexpectedly. Think back to days when you forgot a dose and analyze why that may have happened. Did you fall asleep? Did you go out for lunch? This exercise can help you avoid scheduling medications at times you may easily forget. Remember to utilize your pharmacist’s expertise to optimize medication dosing and help tailor your medication regimen to your individual needs. For example, you may take two medications in the morning, one at lunch and three at bedtime, but often you forget to take your lunch time medication due to schedule changes. By talking to your pharmacist, they may realize no drug interactions exist, permitting you to take your lunch medication in the morning.
Once you have created a daily medication routine, you can put it into action, but keep in mind medication boxes may be needed to keep everything organized. Medication boxes come in all different styles ranging from daily, weekly, monthly, but all require people to organize their pills into the correct dates and times within the medication box. One of the best medication aids on the market is a service called Medicine On Time or MOT. MOT is a pharmacy service that organizes a person’s medications and packages them into disposable medication cards.
These cards separate medication by dose times and each dose cup is labeled with the medication name, date and dose time. This service takes away all of the time, confusion and worry associated with calling the pharmacy, obtaining refills and organizing medications into medication boxes. It is great for individual use or to help caregivers administer medications to their clients. This service is available locally at some pharmacies within Sheboygan County.
Many of us are challenged with taking multiple medications throughout the day, and hopefully by utilizing a medication management action plan, we can find success.
Elizabeth Wimmler is a PharmD, RPh at Glander Prescriptions Plus Pharmacy.