Keeping Your Medications on Track

Feb 16, 2022

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Taking medications properly sounds easy and should be easy, right? Take your blood pressure medication every morning with your breakfast. How about that new antibiotic prescription? You only must take it three times a day for a total of seven days total. Young or old, simple, or complex, when we get busy it can be difficult to stay on track with your medication.

Studies show we only take our medication, as prescribed, about 50% of the time. If someone is given multiple medications to take at multiple times throughout the day the chance of taking the medication properly plummets. Annually poor medication compliance is responsible for ¼ hospital admissions amongst the elderly. While it is true age also begins to play a factor in medication compliance, I have seen people of all ages forget to take their medications. This includes myself.

Not taking medications properly increases risk for poor health outcomes, wasted money, potential danger and frustration from loved ones. Here are some tips for keeping on track with your medications.

Get rid of medications you do not need.

If you have a medication you are not taking anymore, bring it back to the pharmacy to dispose of. Leaving unused medications around is not only dangerous it can be quite confusing. If you are on multiple medications and are not 100% sure why you need them, ask your pharmacist. We are often able to help find medications which are not necessary for you to be taking and we can speak to your doctor to take them out of your regular daily regimen. This process can also reduce unnecessary, yet potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Simply your medication routine.

Many medications can be taken at any time during the day. Some need to be taken at certain times to assist with sleep, prevent drowsiness, have more optimal effect or have less side effects. Regardless your pharmacist is often able to reduce the number of times per day you must take medication; and this will increase the chances you remember to take your meds.

Use compliance packaging.

Bubble packs or blister packs often are classified as a tool for old people to remember their medication. However; many of our young to middle aged patients and even parents of young children rave about the ease of compliance packaging. A bubble or blister pack is a card of seven days of medication. Medication is organized into time slots (up to four times per day) and prepackaged. At certain times of the day all you must do is "pop" out the medication and take it. With the days marked on the package you are always able to stay on track and organized. While the plastic weekly medication organizers to pre-package your own medications work, why not let us do the organizing and packaging?

If blister packs seem too bulky for your liking PacMed strips are another solution. PacMed strips are cellophane pouches of medication provided in rolls with all the information you need printed right on the pouch. Just tear off the pouches in sequence and your medication will stay on track. PacMed packaging is discreet and easy to carry in purses, travel bags even pockets.

The best part of compliance packaging, either in bubbles or strips, is at the DCP the cost is the same as receiving your medication in bottles. Compliance packaging, because it comes in weekly multiples (Usually 1-4 weeks) allows it to be on a regular delivery schedule, which is another reason it is such a great tool. You do not have to worry about ordering your medications.

Remember to order your Medication.

Many people often forget to order their medication on time. The technologically advanced can setup regular refill reminders on their cell phones. If you are not computer savvy, we can put you in our calendar, to help you stay on track. We also have made ordering your medication easier than ever. Check out our online refill ordering page on Pair this up with our free delivery service and it will make life a lot better.

Your clinic pharmacist can also make suggestions to better use your medical devices like inhalers, glucose machines and topical patches to name a few. The pharmacy team can also help make sure your Manitoba Pharmacare and insurance are working properly, which could save you money. Proper use and less expensive medication will increase the chance of a medication or device is used regularly and properly.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional.


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