Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Having Trouble Taking All Your Medications?

Today I'd like to say a few words about medications. Often physicians need to prescribe multiple medications for the same patient. One is each morning, another twice a day, a couple are "as needed" and yet another is recommended at bedtime. One must be taken with food, and another is restricted to an "empty stomach". Before you know it, our patient is supposed to take a half a dozen pills per day- at different times, and with different restrictions- and then we wonder why they are "noncompliant"!

In a perfect world, pills would not interact with each other or with meals, and they could be given once per day. In reality, many medications do not play well in the stomach together, and must be separated. What can we all do? Well, the basic pill box that has a separate compartment for each day is lovely. Don't feel you need to qualify for Medicare before you purchase one! I tell all my patients that there is a good reason "the pill" comes in a dispenser that is labeled by day. How many times have you wondered, "gee, did I take my pill today?" Well, the same is true for vitamins, calcium supplements, and prescription medications of all sorts.

Find a pill dispenser that works for you! If you have multiple medications, consider one that actually reminds YOU! There are wonderful contraptions that you can set up with a week or more of pills, and then an alarm will go off up to four times per day, letting you know that your pills are ready for you!

The picture above is the one I used for my memory-challenged father for several years with great success.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't rely on your memory- find a pill dispenser that works for you to simplify and increase your success with medication compliance!

You can find this pill dispenser at the online Alzheimer Store ; I have no financial ties to them, just really appreciate how this tool simplified MY life and improved my Dad's consistency with medications!

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