A Tough Pill To Swallow: 3 Tips To Make Taking Multiple Medications Easier
Some chronic diseases or a combination of conditions may require you to take several medications throughout the day. Keeping several medications organized and making them easier to take can be a challenge. There are ways to make taking your medications throughout the day easier.
Create A Written Plan
It is much easier to coordinate several medications when you write them down. Since most people are awake for approximately 16 hours per day, plan your medications around these waking hours. This will give you a general idea the times when you should take medications that may have specific dosing requirements and help you space them out.
Once you have a general idea of the times you should take each medication, factor in meals or snacks. Many medications will have dietary requirements, such as they need to be taken on an empty stomach or around meal time. Lastly, incorporate any special considerations you have, such as the way the medication makes you feel. For example, you may need to take an anti-nausea medication before you eat, but after you take a pain medication, because it causes nausea.
Use A Reminder System
Your written plan will serve as a way to input reminders. There are many services available, such as email or app notifications to help you stay on track. Although it can be tedious to input reminder information for several medications, it can help you avoid skipping doses or double dosing because you cannot remember if you took a specific medication. Whenever possible, use a reminder system that incorporates other functions, such as whether you ate with your medication and how the medication made you feel. This is useful to help your doctor with making adjustments to your medication if you experience side effects or need to make changes to your dosing schedule.
Find Different Formulations
Whenever possible, determine if your medications are available in other formulations so you have fewer pills to take each day. For example, some people find patches or injectable medications are easier to use if they experience gastrointestinal upset from taking multiple pills or narcotic pain relievers. Similarly, if you need to take nutritional supplements, use the various formulations on the market to make taking them easier and fun. Nutritional supplements are available in liquid, gum balls, and candies, which also reduces the apprehension associated with taking pills.
When the medications you take are not available in other formulations, talk with your doctor and pharmacist about the option of compounding different medications. If you always need to take certain medications together, a compounding pharmacy can often combine the pills into a single dose. Furthermore, they may be able to turn the medication into a different formulation, such as a flavorful liquid or create a pill with a special coating that is easier to swallow.
Many people rely on taking several medications to improve their quality of life or to increase functioning. There are ways to adhere to a complex medication schedule while making the process easier.