Oops… I Forgot My Meds Again!

Dose Alert for patientsA couple of weeks ago, I woke up with the worst pain! I had broken out in clusters of blisters all over my arm and shoulder. I thought I had poison ivy, but could not figure out what the pain was all about. Then a friend of mine looked at the rash and asked me if I had chicken pox. I said to him what I always say when someone asks me that question.

“No, I’ve already had it. It was when I was a baby. I actually got shingles when I was 3 years old -”  and it hit me.  I had shingles again!

I went to my family doctor the next day and was prescribed the anti-viral medication Valtrex.  My doctor told me very firmly to take EVERY dose of medicine, and I nodded like a good little child.

Guess what I found in my cabinet this week? Seven tablets of Valtrex, long forgotten.

Have you ever taken your prescription the wrong way? I know I’ve done it many times in my life.

There are many reasons that people don’t finish their prescribed medications. Did you know that in this country, about half of all prescriptions are not taken correctly? Why is that?

  • Many times, we just forget.
  • We may think, “Well, if one pill works good, two will work better.”
  • Medicine can be so expensive we try to stretch out the doses. Every other day, instead of every day… Every eight hours instead of every four.
  • If we’re on a long-term prescription, we may start to feel better, and think we’re fine and we don’t need the medicine any more, so we take less – or none at all.
  • Sometimes we don’t understand the prescription directions clearly. For example, if the prescription says every six hours, does that mean every six hours that we’re awake, or do we take it every six hours around the clock?

Does it really matter if we take our medications the wrong way?  Well, it does.  I was shocked to learn that one-third of all hospital visits by older adults are caused when the patient doesn’t take his medication correctly.

That’s a big problem!

Even if taking our prescription the wrong way doesn’t put us in the hospital, it can cost us more money.

Let’s say I have a simple infection and my doctor prescribes an affordable antibiotic. I take it for a few days, then start missing doses because I’m feeling better. Then I stop taking it completely, and three weeks later, I’m sick again. Chances are, my body is going to be resistant to the first antibiotic now, so the doctor is going to have to prescribe something stronger, more expensive. Sometimes 4 or 5 times more expensive.

There’s a lot of responsibility involved in taking our medications correctly, especially if we have chronic illness. That’s why Brian’s Pharmacies gives free medication reminders.  So sign up for the Dose Alert system.  There are options to receive reminders to take your medication and reminders for when you need to refill.  It’s free and easy to sign up.  Visit the pharmacy or call for more information today.


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