Medication adherence means taking your prescribed medicine as you are advised by your healthcare professional. It is easy to remember to take medicines for something we can feel (e.g. pain medicine for arthritis). However, when the medicine is for high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, it is more difficult because people usually “feel fine”. Poor adherence to prescribed medicines can have a very bad effect on heart health.
Taking medicine may be new to you. This can sometimes be hard to remember if you have a number of tablets to take and at different times. Reminders and medicine management systems can help and your pharmacist can advise on this.
If you have not been taking your medicine regularly, it is also important to understand why. Perhaps you are unsure of the reason or the benefit of taking your medicine? If this is the case, your doctor or pharmacist are there to explain. Perhaps you find it difficult to understand the information? Or you might find the medicine too expensive. Some people feel the medication is “not working” or that once the medicine works, they can simply stop. You should never stop taking a medication that has been prescribed to you unless instructed to do so by a member of your medical team. There is always advice and support from your doctor or pharmacist and its important to seek help.
How can I remember to take my medicine?
1. Take it at the same time every day.
2. Make it part of your routine, with your breakfast or final drink before bed.
3. Pill boxes that are divided into days or times are available and some pharmacies prepare blister packs for daily or weekly medications.
4. Keep a medicine calendar or diary near your medicine and make a note every time you take your dose.
5. Have a white magnetic board on your fridge with reminders and add a tick when you have taken it.
6. You can also set reminders on your phone to go off daily or if you have a smartphone apps are available to download which will remind you.
Medication and Travelling
Phone and smartphone apps are useful while travelling and your routine has changed. Ensure you have enough medications with you while travelling to ensure you will not run out, also take a copy of your prescription in your wallet or purse in case of lost luggage.