4 Easy Steps To Keep Up On Medications

| September 22, 2016 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post
19610568 - pills and medicine bottles on white

19610568 – pills and medicine bottles on white

Medication adherence: 4 easy tips to stay on the path to better health
By: Jeremy Blais, Pharm.D., CVS Pharmacy

As a CVS Pharmacist, I interact with customers with prescription-related needs on a daily basis. I take great pride in making sure every customer that comes into our pharmacy not only receives the medication needed to help them get well or stay well, but also that the customer is fully educated on the prescription, dosage and refill instructions.

In order to get, and stay, on the path to better health, patients must understand how important it is to adhere to their prescription’s instructions. Taking a prescription as directed by a doctor is known as “medication adherence,” and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poor medication adherence leads to roughly 125,000 deaths and 10 to 20 percent of hospital and nursing home admissions every single year.

These stats are not meant to scare you, but rather raise awareness for a very serious issue facing our society, one that is 100 percent preventable by taking a few easy steps to ensure we all are taking our medications properly.

Pharmacist consultations: When you pick up your prescription be sure to consult the pharmacist. It’s what we are there for and helping patients is what we love to do. Have the pharmacist go over the specific directions that are included with the prescription to make sure you fully understand the dosage and refill, (if applicable), instructions.

Medication reminders: According to the CDC, four out of every 10 people that are not adherent to their medication do so because they are simply forgetting to take it. Of course, we know people are not forgetting on purpose. The demands of everyday life make it hard to stay the course with a prescription. CVS Pharmacy offers a number of tools and services that help people remember to take their medications routinely and as prescribed. For example, you can download the CVS Pharmacy mobile app that has digital tools that allow users to customize reminders and set up missed dosage notifications, (called MedRemind). The app also has the ability to scan a prescription’s barcode to make it easy to order refills, (called Scan to Refill).

Consolidate your prescriptions: Remembering to pick up your prescriptions at one pharmacy can be difficult enough, however I still see many customers who practice “polypharmacy,” a term used to describe the act of having prescriptions filled at several different pharmacies. This can lead to medication non-adherence because of the additional challenge it creates for a patient to pick up all their prescriptions. It may take some work on the frontend, but consolidating all of your prescriptions into one “pharmacy home” is recommended. As America’s leading retail pharmacy, with more than 9,600 locations nationwide, CVS Pharmacy is a good option for a “pharmacy home.” No matter where you are in the country, chances are one of our pharmacies are close by. That also means, if you are traveling and need to get a prescription refilled immediately, CVS Pharmacy will have you covered.

Explore generic medication options: For many, the costs associated with continuing to take a prescribed medication are too expensive and can cause patients to stop getting their prescriptions refilled. The good news is there have never been more generic medication options available for patients. Generic medications often cost much less than brand-name drugs (sometimes as much at 80 percent less) and they have the same active ingredients. If you are interested in exploring more affordable generic drugs, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

These tips are just a few ways to remain adherent to your medications. Ultimately, it’s important to understand that you are not in this alone and that it’s okay to lean on those around you for support, including your pharmacist. Doing so will help keep you on your path to better health.

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