Taking Medicines as Directed
I find that one of the most difficult problems in medicine is getting patients to follow the directions for their treatments and medications. Over the years, I have developed a few tricks for this. Some are those I do when I get health care for myself or my family, and some are those I work out with my patients.
I always ask several things about the medication.
· Is there a time of day I should take it?
· How many times a day do I take it?
· Are there any major side effects I should know about?
· Should I avoid driving or any other activities?
I know that I can remember to take medications no more often than twice a day. So, when my oral surgeon tried to give me an antibiotic that is 4 times a day, I told him that was “a set up for failure”. We negotiated a different medication. When I got put on a twice a day heart pill, I found that the second one got forgotten more often than not. So we found a long acting pill.
I have patients that can’t remember if they have taken their medications. I tell them about pill counters. I have showed patients pill splitters. I have switched to generics if possible. I even have the lists of different store discount medications – you know – the $4 and $5 lists – right on the corner of my desk to help with medication costs.
The moral of this story is that you should talk to your doctor before the end of your visit about your medications so you can do the best job of taking your meds. Hopefully this will help you get well.