Sticking to Your Medications
Make sure you understand how you´re supposed to take your meds. Get explicit answers from your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. How many times a day? How many hours between doses? With food? With lots of water?
Before taking your meds for real, try practicing using low-dose vitamins or jellybeans. Try it for a week and then look back at how well you did.
- Choose a regular time and place to count out all your pills for the following week.
- Get several small containers. Ask your pharmacist for empty prescription bottles (or use resealable plastic bags; relabeled film cans; or a pocket-sized plastic tackle box) to count in your future week´s medications.
- Put each day´s morning, noon, early evening, and late-night doses into separate components of a see-through plastic box that holds a week´s supply of pills. Ask your treatment advocate or pharmacist for seven-day pill boxes.
- Plan ahead for changes in routine, such as vacations or changing jobs, and make special plans for weekends and holidays.
- Get an alarm watch or beeper. Ask your health care provider, treatment advocate or pharmacist for a timer.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep Post-It notes on bathroom mirrors, in your car, and on your calendar to remind you to take your meds. You can also tape your medication/meal schedule to your refrigerator door.
- Store bottled water in the car and at work at all times for medication taking. If you have roommates or visitors and don´t want to take medication in front of them, it may help to keep a bottle of water by your bed so that you can take your pills in privacy.
- Get help from people< -- ask someone you live with (spouse, partner, family member, roommate) to help you remember to take your pills at the prescribed time.
- Ask your doctor questions and insist for detailed explanations until you understand everything to your satisfaction.
- Don´t panic if you miss a dose. Find out from your physician or pharmacist what to do if you miss a dose.
- Be honest with your healthcare provider about missed doses or doses taken incorrectly. If they don´t know, they cannot help you.
Tips adapted from: Nancy Wongvipat, M.P.H., Health Education Specialist
AIDS Project Los Angeles. Reprinted courtesy of ww.PositiveWords.com © 2000 by Dallabrida & Associates
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