Are You Taking Medication as Prescribed? Common barriers to medication adherence include:
• the inability to pay for medications
• disbelief that the treatment is necessary or helping
• difficulty keeping up with multiple medications and complex dosing schedules
• confusion about how and when to take the medication
It’s important to use antibiotics appropriately and to take the medication exactly as directed.
• Take all doses of the antibiotic, even if the infection is getting better.
• Don’t stop taking the antibiotic unless your doctor tells you to stop.
• Don’t share antibiotics with others.
• Don’t save unfinished antibiotics for another time
If medication side effects are bothering you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what you can do to lessen the problem. You might be able to switch to a different medication or your doctor may be able to adjust the timing of your dose.
Make sure you understand how long to take the medication. Some questions to ask when you’re prescribed a new medication are:
• Is it necessary to empty the bottle, or can I stop taking this medication once I feel better?
• Will I need to get a refill, or can I stop treatment when the bottle is empty?
Set daily routines to take medication. It can be helpful to connect taking the medication with normal, daily activities such as eating meals or going to bed. You can also keep backup supplies of your medication at your workplace or in your briefcase or purse. Keep medications where you’ll notice them. For a medication that should be
taken with food, place that medication on the dinner table or TV tray, or wherever you eat on a regular basis.
If there are medications you need to take in the morning, put those medications in your bathroom, next to your toothbrush or your deodorant, or something else that you use as part of your morning routine.
Use daily dosing containers. These are available at most pharmacies and allow you to keep medications compartments that are labeled with the days of the week and various dosage frequencies. Keep a written or computerized schedule. This can cover the medications you take, how often you take them, and any special directions. Thanks to modern technology, there are a number of devices that have been designed to help patients adhere to a prescribed medication schedule. These include medication reminder
pagers and wristwatches, automatic pill dispensers, and even voice-command medication managers. Ask your pharmacist for suggestions as to which particular devices may be
helpful for you.