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We know that taking medication can be confusing. Maybe it’s hard to remember when to take your medication, or you’re afraid of taking too much or too little. Maybe you just wish your medication were less expensive. 

We get it. And we’d like to help you out. 

We’re here to tell you about three things: 

  1. Medication adherence: what it is, why it’s important, and how to make sure you’re doing it right.
  2. Medication safety: what you need to know about drug interactions, side effects, and more, so that you can stay safe while using your medication.
  3. Cost for medication: tips for saving money on your prescriptions, so that your medications don’t break the bank.

Whether you’re following a treatment plan that requires medication or need to take medicine on an as-needed basis, it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right amount of your medicine at the right time. This is called medication adherence, and it’s a big deal—in fact, it’s so important that the World Health Organization has made it a priority area for action. 

Medication adherence is closely related to medication safety, which means taking your medicine correctly—following all instructions about how to take it and when to take it and knowing what side effects to expect and when to see a doctor. Medication safety can also help keep your costs down by making sure you’re only paying for the medication you need and none of the medication you don’t. 

So how do you become more adherent? Here are some tips: 

Keep track of your medications using a pillbox. If you have more than one pillbox, number them 1-7 (1 being Sunday). Write down each day of the week, then write down the time next to each day of the week. Put all of your medications in each numbered box and make sure they’re labeled with their name and dosage. 

Set reminders on your phone or watch or using a medication reminder service: 

Taking the right medicine at the right time is important for your health. It can also save you money. Here are some tips to help you remember to take your medicine and avoid taking more than you should. 

  1. Keep a list of all your medicines

Make a list of all the medicines you take, including: 

  • Prescription medicines 
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines 
  • Vitamins and supplements 
  • Medicines you get from other countries or from the internet 

You can use this form to create your list. Keep it in your wallet or purse and bring it with you when you see any of your doctors, pharmacists, or other healthcare providers. You can also use it when you travel or if there’s an emergency at home. If you have an emergency, your healthcare providers may not be able to get a copy of your medicine list if they need it quickly. (The form is available in English and Spanish.) 

  1. Use tools that can help you remember when to take your medicine

If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist if they offer free tools to help, such as: 

  • Pillboxes marked with the days of the week 
  • Phone calls or emails 

Prescription medications have become an everyday necessity for many Americans. But the high cost of prescription medications can cause some people to skip doses or not fill their prescriptions at all, which can make your health problem worse. 

If you are having trouble paying for your prescriptions, there are several things you can do: 

  • Ask your doctor if samples of your medication are available 
  • Ask your doctor if a free or low-cost clinic is available in your area 
  • Talk to your pharmacist about generic drugs and ask about discounts on brand-name drugs 
  • Check with any professional associations or organizations you belong to for a discount program 
  • Find out if any discount cards are available from the drug manufacturer