7 Steps to Effective Medications
If you’re not used to taking several different meds, it can be a little daunting at first. Here are some tips to make the medicine go down more smoothly.
1. Know your stuff
Don’t leave your doctor’s office without knowing exactly what medicine you are supposed to take, what it’s for, how much to take, when, and how often. Write down the information for future reference (Organize your medications with this printable chart.)
2. Make a schedule
If you’re taking lots of different meds, injections, or both, you may need to actually write out a schedule to figure out how they all fit together—and to make sure you remember to take them.
3. Avoid bad interactions
Some drugs should not be taken together, and some vitamins, dietary supplements, and even fruits or juices (grapefruit, in particular) may change how certain medications work. Inform all health care providers about any supplements or nonprescription meds you take. Go over the list at every office visit.
4. Watch yourself
Note any common side effects associated with your medications and the symptoms you should watch for. If you suspect you’re having a side effect, call your health care provider’s office immediately. But never stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor.
5. Think about the money
Don’t be shy about talking to your doc and pharmacist about your ability to afford medications and co-pays. Meds can differ significantly in price, particularly when there is a generic version. If cost is a concern, explore your drug-buying options. You might save yourself a trip to the pharmacy—and some cash—by ordering some prescriptions through the mail or on the Internet.
6. Never skip a dose
It is crucial that you always take your medicine exactly as your doctor instructs. Never double up on meds to catch up on a missed dose unless a provider tells you to. You can make it easier to keep track of what to take when by using a weekly pill organizer. Some are divided not only by days of the week but also by times of day—and some of the new ones are downright fashion-forward.
7. Be prepared for change
Oral meds may fail to control your blood glucose and often become less effective over time. It’s not unusual to find that you need to use additional medications or add insulin to your regimen as the months and years go by.