We often don’t have control in whether we must take a medication or not, but we have plenty of choices in how we go about medication management. Here are five ways to more effectively manage your medication and take back control in the process.
Medication Management: 5 helpful steps
1. Be Informed
The first step is to always be informed. You can’t manage something that you don’t understand. Make sure you understand the essential information regarding your medical needs and medication. Some key points to focus on are:
- What medication you’re on
- Your medication dosage
- Why you’re taking medication/what is it supposed to do?
- Any side effects associated with the medication
- Are you taking medication temporary or indefinitely?
Understanding this essential information allows you to search for better alternatives and more effectively go about medication management. Alternatives that may be more effective, have less side effects, or are offered at lower prices. Most drugs have a generic alternative that is offered at a lower price. LowestMed’s search tool can help you identify the generic version of your medication, along with its price.
2. Medicate Efficiently
Being informed gives you the power to discover methods of medicating more efficiently and spending less money on less pills. One method is pill splitting. Many pills can be split in half to save money on monthly prescriptions. If your medication is available in double your normal dosage, you may be able to split the pills and get a 2-month supply for the price of one. However, it’s very import to only split pills that are designed to split safely. Splitting pills that aren’t could result in serious health risks. WebMd suggests looking at the following three signs to determine if the pill is safe to split.
- FDA Approved – If the pill is FDA approved, it will be printed on the package insert
- Doctor Approval – Make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before splitting a pill
- Scored Down the Middle – If the pill is scored down the middle it usually means it’s safe to split, but check with your doctor, or for FDA approval, to be safe
Safely reducing the number of medications you take is another way of medicating more efficiently. If you’re on multiple medications, talk to your pharmacist or doctor about medication consolidation. In many cases, there may be a medication you can take that will do the job of two or more medications; thus, reducing the number of pills you must take and keep track of, as well as reducing your overall medication cost.
3. Track, Track, Track
Medication tracking reminds you of what you’re doing and if what you’re doing is working. Without tracking your medication management decisions are pretty much guesses. While tracking it is important, what you’re tracking is of equal importance. In this case, there are two main areas to focus on. The first area is your medication intake. Tracking your medication intake is essentially tracking everything associated with taking the medication. Here are some examples of what to track:
- Medication name
- Medication dosage
- Time of day when medication should be taken
- Special instruction to follow when taking medication
- How often medication should be taken
- Medication’s refill date
- Was the medication taken?
This type of medication tracking is beneficial for a couple of different reasons:
The first and simplest is that it helps make sure you don’t overlook something during the intake process. Pair the tracking sheet with a pill organizer that has daily compartments to further ensure you don’t skip a medication, take a medication at the wrong time or forget to take the right dosage.
The second benefit of medication tracking is that it equips you with additional information and insight allowing you to make more educated decisions about your medications. Decisions that can help save you time, money and a lot of headaches.
Stay on top of your medications by downloading LowestMed’s free medication tracker.
The second area of medication tracking to focus on is your budget. Rising medication costs make a budget essential to effectively manage your medications. All too often, drug prices are the reason people lose control of their medication management. LowestMed’s search tool can help you fight high drug prices, by comparing them to find the lowest price, while offering discount coupons for additional savings. However, to be most effective, LowestMed’s savings should be paired with a medication budget. A medication budget allows you to keep track of your past expenses, while simultaneously helping you prepare for future expenses.
4. Shop Around
Shopping around for medications gives you more options and more options means more control. To effectively shop around for medications, you need to be adequately informed about your medication so you know what alternatives to look for. You also need to be tracking your medication costs with a budget sheet to understand what medication is going to save you most both right now and in the long run. LowestMed is designed to be your biggest ally when it comes to shopping around for medications. Its search tool allows you to compare different pharmacies’ prices, on both generic and brand name medications, to ensure you find the right medication at the lowest price.
5. Ask Questions
Take the initiative to become further informed by asking your doctor or pharmacist about strategies you can use to more effectively manage your medications. You can start by asking the questions below.
- Why am I taking this medication?
- Is this medication effectively addressing all my needs?
- Are there better alternative forms of this medication?
- Is it possible to reduce the number of my medications, while still addressing my needs?
- Can I split my medication?
- Is there a generic form of this medication?
Remember, it’s those who continue to ask how they can improve that end up discovering new innovative ways to be more productive. You’re well on your way, by simply reading this article.