A senior woman gets advice on sticking to her medication and vitamin schedule during a consultation with a pharmacist.
Safety and adherence

5 Ideas for Sticking to Your Medication Schedule

May 30, 2024

One of the most important factors in seeing positive health outcomes from what your physician prescribes is sticking to your medication guidelines and schedule.

We’re not only patients, we’re humans — and that means we occasionally slip up and may forget to take our medications, take them improperly, or simply later than intended. While there’s nothing to be ashamed of when making mistakes regarding your medication schedule, these errors can affect your health and how well medications work.

In order to keep to your prescribed routine as closely as possible, you need to set yourself up for success. Let’s dive into a few ideas you can try to better stick with your medication schedule. 

Use a Medication Reminder App

One of the simplest ways to better adhere to your medication schedule is through technology. Many different apps exist to help remind you to take your medication or get different tasks done, but you can even just leverage your smartphone’s built-in reoccurring alarm system.

Other applications, like Nimble for example, can even send you helpful reminder messages when it’s time to refill your medication. This can help you get your medication filled in time to avoid lapses. 

Create a Daily Routine for Taking Medication

Technology can only do you so much good. These solutions, though very helpful, only work when you happen to have your medications on hand when alarms and reminders go off. 

The best way to ensure you stick to your medication schedule is by making healthy habits that include taking your prescriptions.

Many medications, even over-the-counter ones, advise you to take them with food to avoid an upset stomach and at certain times a day, or even a certain amount of hours between doses. This makes meal times at set hours a fantastic time to take medications. You can also try making a habit of taking your medications with your morning coffee, right before you leave for work, or after brushing your teeth before bed. 

By establishing a routine, you make it more likely for you to stick to what your doctor has prescribed. 

Organize Your Medications

If you have lots of medications in your daily routine it can be easy to get them mixed up. You can help avoid this by keeping your medications well organized.

Consider labeling your medications with color coding systems for each family member, if it should be taken in the morning vs. night, or even if it should be taken with meals. You can utilize open-top bins to sort prescriptions by each patient and then use dividers to also make these distinctions.

To go a step further, you can even print large instructions on these labels if you struggle to read the fine-print instructions that are printed on pill bottles. 

Store Your Medication In Convenient, Safe Locations 

Just as important as medication organization is safety. You should be storing medications in a safe, dry, cool space that’s out of reach of children and those who should not have access to it. 

It’s tempting to throw pill bottles in your purse or car, but these areas can have very volatile temperatures that affect your medications and are unsecured. 

Consider secure drawers in your pantry, bedroom, or other commonly trafficked areas for medication storage. It’s important wherever you choose is out of direct sunlight and doesn’t get too hot or too cold. Always remember to consult with your pharmacist on exactly what locations your medications should be stored in — you need to ensure that they don’t require specific conditions like being refrigerated. 

Involve a Support System 

There’s always strength in numbers. If you find yourself struggling to adhere to your medication schedule consider seeking advice from your pharmacist or physician. They’ll have even more tips and tricks, or even programs, to help you stay on track.

You might also want to try setting times for your family to take medications all at once — make it your routine to take your medications, daily vitamins, and other supplements after breakfast as a family for example. This can be a very helpful way to remember to take your prescribed medications and also encourage family members of all ages to create healthy habits.

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