Managing your Medications and Health in the New Year

Betty Chaffee/ January 9, 2024/ Medication adherence, Medication Management, Medication safety/ 0 comments

Happy New Year!

You're likely reading this post (and hopefully other posts on this website!) because you want to be as healthy as possible. BetterMyMeds is dedicated to helping you do that by providing what pharmacists call "Medication Management Services". This post is the first of a series that will give you more information about Medication Management. What it is, what BetterMyMeds offers, and more importantly, what part you play in managing your medications and health.

What is medication management?

Managing medications has a different focus depending on who you are. As a patient, when you think of managing your meds, you probably think of getting them refilled on time. Remembering to take them consistently. Learning how to use devices (like inhalers, for example). Timing them with or without food. That sort of thing. Medication management to you is likely to focus on the actual USE of meds.

Health professionals may think of medication management differently. The focus may be on appropriate prescribing, monitoring for safety and effectiveness, and keeping accurate records. It may be on education, or deprescribing when appropriate. The pharmacy profession has its own definition of medication management, which I'll share with you later in this series. For now, though, let's just say that Medication Management includes all the steps you and your healthcare team take to make sure your meds are right for you. And that includes making sure it's as simple as possible for you to take them as prescribed.

You have a role in keeping it simple!

Whether you take one medication daily or 5 (or more), consistency is important. We health professionals like to use the term "adherence" instead of consistency. Adhering to a medication regimen really just means taking meds consistently and as prescribed. And it turns out that regardless of age, it's easy to to miss taking our meds sometimes. Or do it out of habit then forget whether we took them. Not only that, but getting meds refilled before they run out can be hard, too. Here are two things you can do to simplify your meds right away!

First, use a medication organizer.

Medication organizerOrganizers aren't just for those who are forgetful. They make everyday medication use so much easier and more reliable. There are medication organizers for just about every need. Taking meds once a day? Got you covered! Twice? Three times? Four? You can get an organizer to fit your needs! Many of them even have small containers you can pop out and put in your pocket if you're going to be away from home when you need them. An organizer helps in two ways:

  1. When you think back on your morning and realize you don't remember taking your morning meds, just look in the organizer. If they're not there you have your answer. No more scratching your head and wondering. That improves safety and adherence.

  2. No more getting out your pill bottles whenever it's time for a medication. No more looking at each label to pick out the ones you need to take. It's true that you'll need to spend a little extra time at the beginning of the week to read labels carefully and fill your organizer. But once that's done, all your meds are ready for you to take when you need them. The rest of your week is simplified!

Second, ask your pharmacist about "synchronizing" your meds.

Med synchronization emblemSynchronizing refills just means getting all your prescriptions refilled at the same time. This is especially important if you take several prescription medications. Having to contact the pharmacy for refills every few weeks can become frustrating and time consuming. Once your refills are "synced" your life gets a lot simpler.

Full disclosure, setting up synchronization takes a bit of effort. You may have a one-month supply of one med left, two months of another, two weeks of another. If you want to get them synced, the pharmacy staff will need to know how many of each you have so they can dispense the number you'll need to get you through the next refill date. So you'll have to count all your pills to start the process. (Some pharmacies may be able to do the counting for you, so be sure to ask.) But once that's done, it's only one regular phone call for all your refills! 

Make managing your meds easier in 2024!

Synchronizing refills and using a medication organizer are two simple steps you can take to make managing your medications easier. It's a great way to start the new year! We'll talk more about your role (and your healthcare team's role) in medication management in the next several posts. For now, please post your comments and questions in the space below, or contact us directly at BetterMyMeds. We love hearing from you!

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About Betty Chaffee

Betty Chaffee, PharmD, is owner and sole proprietor of BetterMyMeds, a Medication Management service devoted to helping people get the maximum benefit from their medications.

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