3 Tips to Help Manage Multiple Medications
NOVEMBER 12, 2019
Learn about tools and reminders to help you keep track of your daily meds
Many patients are taking more than one heart medication, and juggling multiple medications can certainly be challenging, says Sonia Kothari, PharmD, pharmacist for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Advanced Heart Failure Program.
"Any time patients are having a difficult time keeping track of their pills, they should check in with their doctor or pharmacist," she says. "We can provide medication counseling to help with management strategies as well as education on common side effects."
Over the past several years, a number of new tools have become available to help patients manage multiple medications, including the following:
1. Smartphone Health Apps
Hundreds of smartphone apps are currently on the market to manage medications and keep track of prescriptions and refills. Last year, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), examined one of these apps, the Medisafe smartphone app, and found that it helped patients remember to take their blood pressure medication regularly.
2. Pill Packs/Blister Packs
These pre-packaged pouches are available through a number of different companies to help patients keep track of days and times when each of their pills should be taken. Blister packs contain all of a patient's maintenance medications, and typically exclude those medications for which dosages are frequently adjusted, such as diuretics or blood-thinners. The BIDMC Pharmacy offers blister packaging to help patients remember when and how to take them. Some companies provide home delivery for pre-packaged medications.
3. Phone Alarms
These provide a simple way for patients to remember when to take their medications, and are especially helpful when pills must be taken at particular times of the day.
Kothari suggests that patients talk with the pharmacist every time they have a new prescription filled to make sure they understand why the drug has been prescribed for them, and to learn how and when to take it with their other medications, including whether any existing medications should be stopped.