Nearly 50 percent of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the past month. About 23 percent took three or more prescriptions in the same period. Add that to your daily vitamins and it can be hard to keep track each day. See how some of our members stay on top of it.
Please note that the following tips from members do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These tips are intended as general information only. Please consult your physician for specific advice.
How Do You Remember to Take Your Meds?
I am in an oncology trial, so I have a complicated pill schedule. I set four alarms on my FitBit® to help me remember to take my meds and check my blood pressure. It helps encourage my activity level, too. The trial also requires that I keep a written log. But it is my activity monitor alarms that keep me on track.
— Laurie B.
I set reminders on my cellphone that alert me to take my meds.
— Betty S.
I use a low cost, seven day, pill-sorter box that I fill once a week — nothing fancy. After I put one pill in each day, I count the pills left in the prescription bottle. This is important because if there are less than seven pills left, I need to order refills. To remember to do that, I set the bottle next to my computer. When I'm done sorting all my meds, I log on to the pharmacy website and order refills, or add the over-the-counter (OTC) meds to my shopping list. I then have at least a week to get my refills. This helps make sure I never run out.
If I'm going to travel for more than a week, I fill a separate pillbox for each week I’ll be gone. When traveling, I keep the pillboxes in resealable sandwich bags to protect them from moisture or from the little doors coming open by accident.
— Roger D.
How Do You Keep Track of All the Meds You Take?
I keep a list of medications in my wallet. It includes dose, times taken and prescribing doctor. This list also has diagnoses, allergies, surgeries and my primary care doctor’s address and phone number. My emergency contact is on there as well. This saves so much time when I am at any medical appointment. Sometimes the office just makes a copy of the information. Then I don’t have to spend so much time filling out forms. Doctors and nurses find it very helpful.
— MaryBeth R.
How Do You Dispose of Old Meds?
I started a chronic, constant cough in December 2016. To figure out what might help my cough, I was prescribed many meds that didn’t work. I'm finally on the mend but was left with a cabinet full of leftover medicine. I disposed of the pills by mixing them with coffee in a resealable bag. I got rid of the inhalers and nose sprays by expressing all the medication into the air outside or in a well-ventilated room. Before tossing prescription bottles, I always remove the label or cover it with a thick black marker.
— Tracy M.
In my community, there is a small nonprofit drug prevention group. They work with the county police to hold two drug take back days where you can drop off any unused prescription and OTC medications. They also collect used syringes and old EpiPens. And there is a drop box at our central police station where you can drop off drugs any time.
— Bonnie S.