How many different medicines do you take? Most people with heart failure or other cardiovascular illnesses take several. It’s no wonder you might sometimes puzzle over which medicines to take and when, how much to take, or what symptoms the drugs treat.
To prevent missed or double doses, side effects, and drug interactions, keep your medications organized. Try following these tips to avoid problems:
Write it down
Make a note of the basics about each of your medicines. Here’s what to record: medicine name (generic and brand name), what you use it for, when to take it, how much to take, how to take it, and for how long to take it. Make sure you note whether to avoid mixing the medicine with any others or with any foods or drinks.
Share the information
Tell your health care providers which medicines you take. This includes all prescriptions and any over-the-counter drugs, nutritional supplements, herbs, and other remedies. Keep an up-to-date list of everything you take. Bring it whenever you see your health care provider. Ask whether any of the items can cause problems when combined.
Use a weekly pillbox
These boxes have seven compartments, one for each day of the week. Some have additional slots for different times of day, such as morning, midday, and bedtime. If you stock your pillbox at the beginning of the week, then all week long it’s easy to tell whether you’ve taken a dose instead of trying to remember. You also can link taking your medicine with another routine activity, such as brushing your teeth, so you get used to taking it regularly.
Watch for side effects
Ask your health care provider what side effects may occur with each of your medicines and learn what you can do to avoid them. Find out when to report any side effects to your health care provider. He or she may be able to adjust your dose or schedule, or substitute another drug, if side effects bother you.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.