You don’t have to be a senior citizen to face the challenge of managing multiple medications. Depending on your health, you can be dealing with between two and seven medications per day – and in some cases, more. At Justice Healthcare Group, one of the services we provide is medication management. Why? Because medications are extremely confusing. Not only that, when you get them wrong, they can be quite dangerous to you. There’s not much room for mistakes. In today’s blog, we want to share nine of the concepts we keep in mind while dealing with medications.
Ensure everyone is clear on what you take
When medications mix, strange things can happen. Our pharmaceutical experts know a lot about how medications interact, but they can’t help you out if they don’t know exactly what you’re taking. Whenever you have to fill out a questionnaire or answer questions about your medications in person, take the time to slow down and list every single one. You also need to list out vitamins and mineral supplements. That way, the experts have a full picture to work with and can ensure that whatever they prescribe you won’t cause problems.
Stay aware of medications that make you drowsy
Antidepressants, sleeping pills, antihistamines, and sedatives can all cause drowsiness. There is nothing more frustrating to be on a medication that makes you sleepy and groggy all day. However, medications like these can quickly change from being inconvenient to dangerous, especially if you take them during the day. If any medications make you sleepy, talk to your doctor about taking them at night. Be clear on what activities you can and cannot do when on certain drugs. This simple awareness is key to making your medications work for you and not harm you.
Don’t skip days
Nobody is perfect, but you should never skip daily medication. It has been prescribed to keep you in optimal health. We understand that remembering your medications can be challenging, so here is a tip that has the best results overall: Take your medications at the same time every day. By taking your medications at the same time every day, you can reinforce a good habit very quickly. It works even better when you attach taking your medications to another event, like eating, waking up, or the start of your favorite television program.
Be careful about what you eat and drink
Certain medications show ugly side effects when paired with certain foods and drinks, while others must be taken with food and drink. The differences can be dizzying, so take some time to sit down and understand just how your medications work. A great way to start this product is a talk with your doctor. By taking your medications in a way that helps them work with your diet rather than against it, you can ensure your medications give you the biggest benefit.
Get the lowdown on your medications
We just mentioned asking your doctor about how your medication interacts with food, but you need to know more than that. What happens if you skip a day? What are the possible side effects? How exactly was this medication made to be taken? Knowing these things will give you more confidence when faced with decisions and the chaos life brings.
There are plenty of medications that can make eating the very last thing you want to do. These include medications like pain meds, chemotherapy, antibiotics, and cough and cold drugs. If a drug that suppresses your appetite needs to become part of your daily regimen, double-check with your doctor on whether or not there is a different drug you could use. If there aren’t any other options, ask your doctor about ways to give your body the calories it needs to thrive. Losing weight and strength will only make things worse and may lead to the need for other medications.
Make a list
Depending on your situation, it can feel like medications are out of control. When there are a lot of them and they keep changing, you’re in a challenging situation. A list can do wonders. Sit down and create a running list of all of your prescriptions, supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins. Bring it to all of your doctor appointments and try to buy it all from the same pharmacy. That way, your doctor and pharmacist can keep track of everything and ensure there aren’t negative interactions going on.
When you create your list, be sure to include the following information:
- The medication’s name and generic name if it has one
- The medication’s dosage, frequency, and special directions
- The medication’s expiration date
- The name of the medication’s prescriber
Follow the directions
Learning exactly how your medications need to be taken can be boring, but it’s absolutely essential. The directions on the labels are carefully created to facilitate optimal performance from each drug. Medications are expensive; you might as well get your money’s worth! More importantly, medications taken the wrong way can have a negative impact on your health. If you have any questions about your medications and how to take them, get in touch with your doctor. However, most medications come with helpful information that a majority of people simply neglect to read.
Pill organizers are ingenious and just one will go a long, long way toward making you feel saner. If you need to, you can use more than one organizer to keep everything straight. The organizer not only allows you to keep bottles put away, you can set the organizer out where you’ll see it. Having the organizer in an obvious place will help you remember to stay consistent.
Make technology work for you
Smartphones come with alerts and alarms that can be set to go off the same time every day. You can even schedule multiple alarms to go off a day. If you don’t want to use your phone’s clock, you have lots of apps specifically designed to help keep medications straight.
Keeping your medications straight can be especially difficult when you’ve just come home from the hospital. Ironically, the days after you come home from the hospital are the most important for taking your medications correctly. That means that many people can get into trouble and end up back at the hospital. We all know that staying in the hospital is very expensive, and at Justice Healthcare Group, we are on a mission to help people stay at home during their recoveries. This includes medication management. Contact us in Houston to learn more about our home health aide team!