5 Simple Life Hacks to Stay on Track with Your Medication 123

5 Simple Life Hacks to Stay on Track with Your Medication

The following article is a guest post.

Everyone knows it happens every once in awhile. You accidentally skip a dose of your asthma medicine, or you forget to bring your blood pressure prescription with you on your weekend getaway.

No big deal right?

Not exactly.

Turns out not taking prescriptions as directed is a real public health problem with serious consequences. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 50% of patients do not take medicine as prescribed. This not only increases rates of disability, morbidity, and mortality, but it is a huge burden on the healthcare industry as a whole, costing upwards of over $100 billion every year worldwide.

Experts believe there is a multitude of reasons patients don’t stick to the guidelines of their prescriptions.

Sometimes patients are unclear about their own condition and treatment, they are weary of drug side effects. They lack a care network to support them, are confused by complicated drug regimens. Decide they simply don’t need the medicine, or just can’t afford it.

Fortunately, there are creative, basic, and effective ways for people and their treating doctors to address medicine non-adherence and boost health outcomes at the same time. These include:

1. Sticking with a schedule.

Taking your medicine each day simply “when you remember to” often doesn’t cut it when it comes to staying on track and adhering to your prescription as it is written.

It’s oftentimes the easiest to take medicine in the morning when you wake up and get dressed, or in the evening before bed.

Sticking with a schedule where you take your medicine at the same time every day can actually help you commit it to memory.

If your medicine requires you eat food with it or take it at a specific time during the day, you may want to set a digital reminder on your phone and other digital devices (i.e. work computer) so that you have a backup alert to keep you on track.

2. Use an app.

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2014 study found that medicine adherence apps have the potential to help people better remember to take their medicine.

Both patients and clinicians may benefit from apps which are designed to manage medicine schedules, alert users when it is time to take pills, refill prescriptions, and provide drug information. Popular medicine management apps include Medisafe, Pillboxie, Care Zone, and Pill Reminder from Drugs.com.

3. Talk with your doctor.

For many people, especially those with chronic illness who take multiple prescriptions a day, it’s simply the complexity of medicine regimens that makes it difficult to stay on schedule.

One patient, for example, might need to take three pills in the morning with similar shapes and sizes. As well as ingest an orally suspended (liquid) prescription, and take a puff of an inhaler. And then repeat the process one or two more times through the day but with more or less drugs or different ones altogether.

Talking with your doctor about dosage frequency, i.e. reducing the times you take medicine, is an important conversation to have.  That can help simplify your medicine schedule to help you stay on track.

4. Travel smart.

Traveling with prescription medicine can get messy fast. You never want to pack your prescription bottles in checked luggage when flying in case the airline loses your luggage. But you also don’t want to dump all the pills you’ll need on a trip into one bottle because it will be difficult to sort through later. And you want to keep up with refills so you don’t get stuck on the road without your prescription.

So how do you keep it all organized? Time-of-the-day and day-of-the-week pill organizers can help you sort and neatly organize all the pills you will need for a trip and are fairly inexpensive.

For great pill case options for your purse, click here.

5. Look for savings.

What if you don’t have a problem remembering to take your prescription, but it’s just the cost that has you taking your medicine less than prescribed or keeps you from refilling on time?

With the healthcare market as volatile as it is, it’s more important than ever to find savings on expensive prescriptions so you can get the treatment you need without breaking the bank.

Drug manufacturers like Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline will offer discount programs on first-time prescriptions. Or you can look for coupons online at websites like GoodRX.com.

It might also be worth asking your doctor if they have any free samples. Or buying your prescription from a verified international pharmacy like PlanetDrugsDirect with rates lower than your local drugstore.

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9 Ways to Handle Change in Your Life [Infographic] 5

9 Ways to Handle Change in Your Life [Infographic]

When a big change happens in your life, it doesn’t have to be a negative change to have a huge impact on you.

Change causes uncertainty and our brains and bodies react to uncertainty by trying to protect us with the release of fight or flight chemicals and hormones.

The downside to this is that living with these for an extended time results in elevated heart rate and affects your digestion, immune systems and blood flow.

But there are ways you can regain control over your life even in the midst of big changes.

The first is to take a step back and reflect on what’s actually happening and what your involvement is, which will help you to understand and find perspective on the situation. Hopefully, this will enable you to find the opportunities that every change in your life brings, rather than obsessing over any short-term negative impacts.

It may also help you to allow yourself a transition period where you adjust to the changes. But with a firm deadline by which you expect to have moved on and settled into the new routine. Even if it doesn’t quite work out that way, it will still push you towards visualizing the end of the uncertainty, which will prepare you to make it happen sooner rather than later.

On a more basic level, you need to remember to look after yourself during this time of change and the related stresses.

It can be too easy to fall into bad habits like neglecting your own simple needs, like a good night’s sleep and staying active and eating right when you are going through something like this. Having a day in your pajamas eating ice cream out of the tub is fine. But your body needs sleep, exercise and nutrition to keep you healthy.

Routine can be a comfort when it feels like everything in your life is changing.

So try and stick to some simple ones like walking your dog every morning or going to a regular gym class to give your life some stability and consistency.

You also need the help and support of those around you. And having a strong support network is crucial when it comes to coping with big changes in your life. This means family and friends, but you could also seek out people going through similar experiences by looking online. There may well be communities who you can talk to and get helpful tips from.

Most importantly of all, you need to be aware of when you need more than just the love and support of other people to help you cope with stress and uncertainty. If you start to feel like your mental health is really suffering, or you have been feeling the symptoms of stress for more than a couple of months, you need to go and talk to a health professional to get the help you need to bounce back.

You can read more practical tips about dealing with change and the symptoms it causes in this infographic from Pounds to Pocket.