Modern medicine has made many advances toward improving our everyday lives by making it easier than ever to treat health conditions today. However, with our increasingly complex and busy lives, it’s also become harder than ever to keep track of multiple prescriptions for ourselves and for our loved ones. Precise medication administration is important for optimizing the efficacy of medications in recovery or in long-term care. Missed dosages or inconsistent dosages can render treatments ineffective. Overdosages or drug interactions can even be life-threatening in the worst cases.
Polypharmacy occurs when an individual patient concurrently uses two or more prescription medications, which is even harder to keep track of than a single prescription. Yet, polypharmacy is the norm for a majority of elderly adults in the US today as they manage multiple prescriptions. Thankfully, with the help of organization tools and digital tools, you’ll be on the right track to maintaining your prescribed timing, dosage, frequency, and duration of medication.
Attempting to rely upon memory alone as a reminder for taking medications is an impractical method for many patients, especially those who have limited time and competing priorities as well as those who are elderly and may be more susceptible to memory loss.
It’s easy to lose track of small medication bottles around the house, especially if you’re concurrently taking multiple medications. One easy solution is to store all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements, and other health-related items in the same place so that there’s no guesswork involved. Please note that your medications should be sealed tightly and stored in a cool, dry place to preserve quality over time. Many people make the mistake of choosing the bathroom “medicine cabinet” as their default storage space, but because bathrooms are frequently exposed to moisture and heat, these are actually one of the worst places in the house to store medications.
To prevent under- or overdosing, patients can use weekly pill organizer boxes to pre-sort their daily medications. Some pill organizers even include separate compartments for morning and evening pills for each day! These are pill organizers are highly affordable and easily accessible at almost any drugstore, convenience store, department store, and online.
Many prescription medications must be taken at precise intervals or times throughout the day. A simple organizational pillbox may be helpful for keeping track of medications that must be taken on certain days, but it may not be the most ideal for keeping track of multiple dosage times.
Some organizational pillboxes have digital features that make medication management even easier, making these digital organization tools the best of both worlds. For example, Pillsy is a digital cap that screws onto your standard pillbox. It is accompanied by a smartphone app that provides reminders, tracks dosages, facilitates refills, and more. Another great option is Hero, a digital medication dispenser that stores a month’s worth of up to ten different pills and automatically dispenses them when it’s time for patients to take them. It is also accompanied by a smartphone app for both the user and close friends or family to download and keep up to date about medication management topics such as tracking adherence history, drug interactions, refills, and more.
There are also many other standalone medication management smartphone apps, such as Medisafe and Care Zone, which are easy to download and use. For more old-school patients, medication reminder phone call services are also a convenient solution and are available through companies such as Call-Em-All and Snoozester. Even a simple bedside digital alarm clock that can be purchased at any department or home goods store can be helpful for keeping track of medications that need to be taken at certain times during the day.
Technology is also useful for direct contact with your pharmacy to manage your prescription. Many pharmacies, including us, feature online refill services that allow patients to plan ahead for long-term prescription medications.
Patients can optimize their medication’s healing effects by utilizing a combination of these organization tools and digital tools as well as a large dosage of determination and commitment.