Your Medications, Best Practices

Publication Date: 
Mon, 02/03/2014
By: Alere Staff

Did I take my pill today? How many times have you asked yourself this question? This gets harder as more people take two or more prescription drugs every day. Among older Americans (aged 60 and over), more than 76% used two or more prescription drugs.1 To avoid forgetting or taking the wrong one, create a daily routine to take your medication.

Use a pillbox: these are available at most pharmacies and can help you remember when to take your medication with slots labeled with the days of the week (some include AM/PM) and different dosing amounts.

Keep written or computerized schedule: this list should show each medicine you take on a regular basis, its purpose, how much to take, and when to take it. An exact, up-to-date personal medication list helps reduce errors and helps improve your overall health.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the National Library of Medicine all have guidelines on how to make a medication list.

Alere now offers a simple way for you to share all the medicines, vitamins and dietary supplements with your doctor. Download this Medications List form and Safe Medications form, and fill them out before your next doctors’ visit.

Remind yourself: for high tech solutions, you can use reminder pagers and wristwatches. Many pharmacies have automatic pill dispensers available. For a low tech solution, use a printed calendar or sticky notes to remind you.

Keep medications in same place where you will notice them: for medication to be taken with food, keep your pillbox near the kitchen.

Travel, including flying: ensure you have enough refills on hand for the duration of your trip. If you are flying, be readily able to identify each medication by bringing your medication record with you. For additional information call your airline or go to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA.gov) website.

For Emergencies: If you have an injury or become ill and need to contact emergency services, ambulance staff will need to know that you are taking warfarin. You should carry identification that mentions warfarin, such as medical alert jewelry and medical alert wallet cards. Click here for a printable medical alert card.

It is important to discuss all medication with your doctor and to take all your medication as prescribed.

  1. Gu Q, Dillon CF, Burt VL. Prescription drug use continues to increase: U.S. prescription drug data for 2007-2008. NCHS data brief, no 42. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010.