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Taking medicines may be “old hat” to you or something new that seems hard to remember. Whether you have taken medicines before or not, there are some important things to remember about taking those pills each day.

If you don’t take your medicines as prescribed, what could happen? First, the medicines to help manage your medical condition may not work properly - you won’t get any relief and your medical condition may get worse. Second, not taking them properly may cause side effects that can be mild – or very harmful.

It’s Just Pills - How Hard Can This Be?

You need to take the time to learn how and when to take pills. Some pills must be taken at night to work well; others with food. Some cannot be taken together or you cancel out the effect of the other pill. Write down each time you take a pill on a weekly medication log and take the record to the doctor at each appointment.

Why So Many Pills?

The number of pills can seem overwhelming. Doctors need to prescribe multiple medications for some medical conditions as each one treats a different symptom.

For each medicine, you should know:

  • The name of the medicine and if it is brand or generic.
  • What the medicine is supposed to do and how long before you see the effects. If you don’t think it is working, tell your doctor.
  • How it should be taken and when it should be taken – and for how long
  • What foods, drinks or other medicines should you avoid?
  • What are the possible side effects? When should you call the doctor?

How Can I Remember to Take All These?

  • Take medications at the same time each day. Doing it at the same time as any activity, like brushing your teeth, helps you remember.
  • Use reminders: a weekly pill box; timer caps for the bottles - some beep when it is time to take a pill; use a color coding system for time of day

If your medicines are too expensive, tell your doctor or pharmacist or home care nurse; they may be able to help. If you need immediate help, contact Interim HealthCare.

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