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Are you taking your medicine?

GEHA | July 18, 2019

Taking your medicine as prescribed is important for long-term health and well-being.

Do you take your medicine as prescribed? Five out of 10 people don’t. Do you know you are putting your health at risk if you don’t?

People don’t take their medicine as prescribed for various reasons. Perhaps you don’t understand the directions, you forget or have several medications with different regimens. The medicine doesn’t seem to be working or you don’t like a side effect. Maybe you can’t afford to fill the prescription or you take less to make the prescription last longer.

Taking your medicine as prescribed is important for controlling chronic conditions, treating temporary conditions, and overall long-term health and well-being.

Nine helpful tips

  • Take your medicine the same time every day.
  • Tie it to a daily routine, such as brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed. Before tying it to a meal, check to see whether your medication needs to be taken on a full or empty stomach.
  • Keep medications where you’ll notice them.
  • Keep a schedule and note each time you take a dose.
  • Use a pill container with sections for different times of the day.
  • Refill the sectionalized pill container the same time each week.
  • Use technology such as timer caps for your pill bottles or a reminder on a cell phone app.
  • When traveling, bring enough medication plus a few days extra. If flying, keep it in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost. Also, temperatures inside the cargo hold could damage your medication.
  • Bring a list of medications, dosage and frequencies to all interactions with healthcare providers.

Communicate with your health care professional. If a side effect is bothering you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You might be able to switch to a different medication or adjust the timing of your dose.

Tell your doctor if paying for your prescription is a problem. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a generic medication or offer other suggestions to offset the cost of the drug. You may be eligible for drug assistance programs in your state. Some pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs, too.


"Why You Need to Take Your Medications as Prescribed or Instructed.", U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 16 February 2016.