Make your medication a habit

You're walking in the door at work when it hits you: you forgot your blood pressure medication, again! Sound familiar? Even when you know it's good for you, it's not always easy to remember to take your medication. So what can you do? Here are a few ideas.

Make your medication part of your daily routine. See the next section of this health feature, "Keep it simple," for details.

Use a memory aid:

  • Dosettes are small containers with a "window" for each day (or time of day). You fill them with your medications, then open the "window" to get your dose. This system lets you see which doses you've taken. Some medications come in blister packs similar to a dosette, with one blister for each dose.
  • Alarms can be set to go off when it is time for your next dose. You don't need to buy a special alarm for this – the alarm on your watch, laptop, cell phone, or alarm clock will work just as well.
  • Charts or calendars can help you remember to take your dose.
  • Electronic caps for medication containers can show the time when the vial was last opened. This can help you see whether you took your last dose.
  • Some pharmacies and drug companies offer reminder services (by phone or email) to help you remember to take your medication.

The key is finding a memory aid that works for you. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your options.

Simplify your medication routine. The fewer pills you have to take, and the less often you need to take them, the easier it will be to remember. If you're taking pills more than once a day, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there's a treatment you could use only once a day. If you're taking more than one pill, see if you can switch to a combination product containing both drugs in a single pill.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you advice on what to do if you miss a dose. They may also be able to suggest ways to help you remember your medication, or to make your medication routine simpler. Your doctor can also help you stay on track by measuring your blood pressure so that you can see how the medication is working.

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