If the diseases involved weren’t so serious, the number of prescriptions that enter our house would almost be amusing. Between us, the number is in the mid teens…and growing.
There’s good news in that. Many of the problems that we are dealing with could have killed us a long time ago without the medications. Modern medicine has come been very beneficial. However, there are some important things we need to know when we have to manage large numbers of medications.
Timing is important. Does it get taken in the morning, in the middle of the day, or at night? How many times a day should it be taken? How far apart should the doses be? The answers to these questions are very important, and they vary from drug to drug.
Some medications have to be taken with food or water. Not eating could cause an upset stomach. With certain medications, not drinking a full glass of water with them could cause serious complications.
Other medications have to be taken on an empty stomach. Again, timing comes in to play. These medications should be taken at least one hour before you eat or two hours afterwards. Many times, this is because food may block complete absorption.
There is also a danger of interactions when multiple drugs are used. This is even more true if you are seeing more than one doctor. Even if they’re in the same medical group, you can’t assume they each know what the other has prescribed.
Whether you see just one doctor or multiples, give your doctor a complete list of everything you take at each visit. This will help him or her make sure that there are no interactions, either by changing a drug or changing the timing of them.
Remembering to take a medication can also be an issue. Some of my medications help me deal with movement, so they are easy to remember. Others are easy to forget.
There are two ways around this problem, and you may need to use both. One is to have a pill planner. It’s divided into days, and some are also divided into morning/evening sides. Put the medications in the proper day and it’s easier to remember.
The other method is to set a certain time each day to take a medication. If you can set it into habit, you’re less likely to forget.
If you have questions about managing your medications, the best person to talk to would be your pharmacist. He or she can look at your medication list and offer advice on all of the issues mentioned above and any others that might come up.