Managing medication is difficult and if not taken properly, there can be scary consequences. A health research firm based in Australia, NPS MedicineWise, found that almost 50% of patients forget to take their medications at least once a month. This is also supported by data from MedAdvisor users. While missing a dose of cough medicine may have minimal consequences, missing a dose of medication for something as serious as epilepsy can increase a patient's chance of having a seizure, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Which begs the question, is there a recommended way to set a reminder for our medication? We asked our community of pharmacists and app users for their advice.
Many people rely on memory and routine habit associations. Jenny Blake explained
I take most in the morning before I clean my teeth, and at night its pain meds so if I don't take it the pain lets me know.”
and Barbara Bainbridge also has a regular habit.
As soon as I eat something, I take it in the morning.”
And Kristy also has a morning schedule.
I have them with breakfast. So, they are in my week prepared tablet container near my breakfast food. I also have a reminder in my phone to take them.”
Martin Mileham balances over 10 prescriptions, and he also visits his pharmacist once a week. Mileham says that he typically remembers to take his medication at the correct times but also says,
“to be sure I use [MedAdvisor’s] reminder feature set for 8:30 am and pm.”
Seven pharmacists were asked who they believed needed medication reminders, and six out of seven stated that everyone should be using medication reminders.
Pharmacists throughout the years have witnessed their customers struggle with adhering to their medication, creating overcomplicated medication reminders in the process.
Karalyn Huxhagen of TerryWhite Rural View said that she noticed one customer had
large plastic jars that peaches and apricots come in [with] different lid colours for different times of day.”
However, Avishkar Lal of Lloyd St Discount Chemist Moe explained that it’s important to find what works for you. “What may be weird for one person might work perfectly well for another,” he said, “as long as they know what they are taking and when to take them.”
While taking the correct dosage may seem like it's the most important aspect of taking medication, taking medication at the right time is imperative to the medication’s effectiveness.
Jeanette Drury of Wizard Pharmacy says that “To be most effective, medications need to be taken at the correct dose and at the right time.” Lal, echoing his colleague’s sentiments, says,
“Medications have a set half-life, and if not taken at the same "time" each day, [it] can possibly lead to loss of medication effectiveness as well as adverse effects.”
There are multiple ways your smartphone can help to remind you when to take medications. There are apps on the market that can remind you which medications to take at what time as well as the specific dosage you need. This is especially convenient if you manage multiple medications.
Bob Harvey manages between five to 10 medications, making a trip to his local chemist every month and for him, a simple voice reminder does the trick. When asked how he remembers to take his medication, Harvey responded, “By setting a voice alarm, which says “Take your tablets.”
While setting a simple alarm on your smartphone may be helpful when taking 1 pill a day, some people need more support.
Patients who manage multiple medications, or medications that are taken weekly or monthly have consistently recommended MedAdvisor as a great medication reminder that can do more than what a general alarm can do – including the convenience of ordering from your pharmacy ahead of time.
Paula Scanlon, who manages 5 -10 prescriptions, recommended MedAdvisor to manage medication reminders. “Get MedAdvisor,” she says.
Keeps all your scripts in one place. Receive notifications when scripts are due to be filled or more importantly when you need repeats. Especially if you have multiple scripts. The other feature I like is that you can link other members of your family. Also easy to use.”
However, MedAdvisor isn’t just for customers with more prescriptions than they can manage. When asked, “What advice would you give a friend who has multiple prescriptions to remember?,” Michael Taylor, who manages only 1-2 prescriptions, offered his best advice in the form of three words: “Get MedAdvisor app.”