Oftentimes medication is the thin line between life and death, making it imperative to follow up diligently with your prescription, writes Dr Nandini Saini
Medications are an important, and sometimes, annoying part of our lives. For some, they’re just meds, but for a lot of people, they could literally make the difference between life and death. It should be a good motivation to remember taking them on schedule, as prescribed.
However, it is very common for people to miss taking their medicines on time. Though the reason given is usually, “I forgot!!” there could actually be another explanation for this.
Some of the reasons people, especially seniors forget their medications are:
- Misunderstanding: They are prescribed a whole lot of medicines, for various ailments. It could be difficult for a person to remember takin all.
- Cost: At times, the medicines are very expensive, and people just can’t fit them into their budgets. They just let a few of them slip through or stretch them for longer.
- Side effects: The side effects caused by some medicines make people over cautious. For example, a long time pain killer can cause acidity…it might seem easier to just skip it than go through the reflux, or add an additional antacid.
- Mistrust: “Do we really need so many drugs?” It’s a very common question asked by the patients.
- Lack of symptoms: Reduction in the severity of symptoms seems to be a common excuse to skip or deliberately stop medicines. Patients reason that they are cured, hence no medicine required.
- Dependence: A genuine concern most people have is that they may become dependent on the drugs…it’s better to just stop having them.
Then there’s the holiday season…you’re busy hosting guests, there are rituals and parties you need to attend, and the disruption from routine could make it harder to remember if you’ve medicated. There’s a stretch on the monthly budget. Any or all of these become an additional reason to either forget or deliberately skip taking the pills.
Skipping a dose now and then may not seem harmful, but it can have catastrophic long term effects on your health. You need to understand that your medications may be the support needed to keep you active and in good health, so you can actually enjoy the holidays. It is important to not miss doses.
So, how do you ascertain that the medication is taken?
- Stick to a routine: If you have set routine, chances are you won’t forget your doses. Adhere to your routine as far as possible.
- Set up alarms: Make use of your phones or watches to set an alarm when it’s time for your medication…this way, you’ll get a reminder during parties too.
- Get a pillbox: A pillbox helps you organise your medicines and dosages, so you have easy access to them. Just fill it up weekly, and you’re good to go.
- Simplify your prescription: Ask your physician if combination drugs work for you, so you wouldn’t need to take them frequently or at different times.
- Write it up: If jotting down notes helps, keep a diary or a fridge magnet where you can note down your med schedule. If it’s in front of you, you’ll remember to take the drugs accordingly.
- Keep extra doses: Always carry a few extra doses of medicines with you, in case you lose a tablet.
- Refill your prescription: There’s nothing worse and more negligent than running out of medicine and not having refills. Diligently refill your prescription every month.
- The To-Do list: Do you make daily to-do lists? If so, make an addition- an entry for your medicine schedule for the day. You can strike it off as and when you’ve taken the dose.
- Out of sight, out of mind: Try placing your medicine bottles where you can easily see them, it helps in remembering to take them too.
- Give yourself an incentive: Incentives are great motivators; try giving yourself a treat after taking the medication- it could be a small nap, a new book. Anything that makes you happy.
- Mark your calendar: Keep track of the dates you need specific medicines, make a note of the refills etc.
- Flip the pill bottle: Flip the bottle bottoms up when you’re through for the day, so you’ll know that the pill has been taken.
Enjoying holidays and family functions is everyone’s right, but it isn’t an excuse to forget the essentials in your life. Always remember to take your medicines on time to make the most of the festive season.