Finding ways to make sure you’re healthy and safe both now and in the future.
Polypharmacy is the term used for taking multiple medications for different conditions. This practice is most often a need in older adults or those with complex medical conditions. No matter what medications you take, it’s imperative that you have a good handle when to take them, how to take them and how to keep track of your dosage. Due to age, a hectic schedule, advanced illness or even a medication’s side effects, keeping track of what you need to take when can be a challenge.
Mastering medication management is a necessary step towards wellness and not doing so can adversely affect your health both now and in the future. So how do you ensure that you are managing your medication properly? Continue reading to learn more.
Easy to implement solutions are often most effective due to their simplicity. Having trouble remembering what to take? Use a daily pill sorter so you only have to pay attention to your regimen once a week while you’re sorting them.
Forgetting to take your medicine? Set an alarm on your phone or put your pill bottle in your shoe so you can’t leave home without taking your dose. Simple strategies and repetition can be the best ways to ensure that you’re taking your medicine when you should.
Make a list:
Create and maintain an up to date medication list. A list should contain the drug name, dosage, dosing frequency, and reason for taking the drug. Bring this list with you to every doctor’s appointment or to the pharmacist when you pick up your prescriptions. Providing this information to your caregivers is imperative so they can ensure that your medication won’t cause any adverse effects or unhealthy drug interactions.
Ensure age and weight appropriate doses:
The dosage of certain medications may change with age and weight so when being prescribed a new medication, make sure that your dose is appropriate for you. Especially as you age, the way you metabolize medications changes so dosage amounts or medication time may need to change to account for this difference.
Ask for help:
If you’re having trouble managing your medications don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Ask a family member, friend or medical professional for assistance. Even having a friend send a text message to you once a day checking to make sure you took your pills may be all you need to stay on track. Get a second opinion: No two providers are alike. One may prescribe multiple medications in high doses and others may prescribe fewer. It never hurts to get a second opinion regarding your medications and your health in general, especially if you don’t feel well or are having trouble with one or many of your medications. It’s your responsibility to properly manage your (or a child or aging parent’s) medication properly. If you’re diligent, ask questions and are honest about the side effects you’ll be well on your way to leading a healthy life.
Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell is a Psychiatrist in New York City and offers Psychiatric Consultations in the New York City area.