The Cabinet-level Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released data revealing that at least half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug and one in six Americans take three or more medications. If you or know someone you know takes multiple medications, you know how easy it is to either miss a dose or accidentally take the wrong one. Some even admit to adjusting their medication or skipping doses on their own without their doctor’s consent.
Over-medicating or under-medicating can not only have a negative impact on your treatment, but it can pose a serious threat to your health. Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. is dedicated to your health, safety and well-being. Our home health aides are professionally trained to monitor your medication schedule and assist in maintaining your medication adherence and our team of Registered Nurse professionals can pre-pour medications making it easier to manage a medication schedule.
“Medication adherence” is heard more frequently these days, as physicians are relaying to their patients the importance of taking their medications correctly. This includes filling prescriptions, remembering to take medication on time, and understanding the directions. For example, the directions may instruct you to take one pill, twice a day, with food. Any deviation from your physician’s instructions (like adjusting the medication to just once a day or not taking it with food) could cause harm.
According to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, “Poor medication adherence can interfere with the ability to treat many diseases, leading to greater complications from the illness and a lower quality of life for patients.”
Antibiotics, for example, are among the top medications prescribed today. A common mistake patients make when taking antibiotics is that they will stop taking their medication when they begin to feel better and no longer have symptoms. This can be a dangerous assumption, especially if a patient is being treated for a bacterial infection.
Some patients experience side effects from their medication or they have difficulty taking their medications properly. If this should happen to you, it is important to contact your physician immediately to discuss your concerns so that he or she can make the proper adjustments (like changing the dose or frequency). You should never attempt to make adjustments to your medication yourself.
If you’re having difficulty paying for your prescription drugs, the FDA suggests asking your doctor to prescribe a more affordable generic drug, or to make other suggestions to offset the cost. Generic drugs use the same active ingredients and are known to work the same way in the body, costing anywhere from 30% to 80% less than brand drugs.
The FDA has some easy tips to ensure you are taking your prescriptions correctly:
- Keep Medications in Sight – It’s helpful to keep your medications where you’ll notice them as part of your daily routines. For example, for medications that should be taken with food, try leaving the bottle on the dinner table or wherever you normally eat your meals. For morning pills, they suggest leaving the medication in your bathroom near your toothbrush or deodorant, or something else that is part of your morning routine.
- Use Daily Dosing Containers – These convenient containers are a great tool for keeping your medications organized with the proper dosage and frequency. They are labeled with the days of the week and various dosage frequencies and can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Keep a Schedule – Keeping a written or computerized schedule can be a helpful way to keep you on track. Modern technology is making this process even easier with several electronic devices designed to help patients adhere to their prescribed medication schedules. Some of the latest devices include: medication reminder pagers, wristwatches, automatic pill dispensers and voice-command medication managers. Ask your pharmacist for suggestions on which device may be best for you. The FDA offers a free form that you can print and use to list all of your medications.
In addition to our assistance on the importance of following your medication schedule, check out our blog: How Important Is It to Follow Your Hospital Discharge Plan? This can also serve as guide to help you take your medications correctly. To learn more about Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. and our services, please call 1-866-720-0124.