New CF Medicine Struggles
Last updated: April 2023
Getting a new medication prescribed can feel overwhelming. I was prescribed a new medication a few years ago. And this medication had very specific requirements and instructions. One of the instructions was to take it three times a day and specific intervals. For example, I had to take one dose at 4pm. And I had the hardest time remembering when to take the medicine.
I remember feeling very frustrated with myself as I told my cystic fibrosis (CF) team of my struggles. If you have CF, then you know that taking medicine is just part of the routine. So, I couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time remembering this medicine. And I knew the importance of taking medication exactly as prescribed to get the most benefit from it.
It can be harmful to miss a dose of medication. Some side effects are seen right away. Other side effects aren’t seen for years. Taking your medication on time and as prescribed is vital. But it can still be a struggle.
Struggling to remember
It can feel overwhelming to start a new medicine. I always felt like it was just one more thing to add to my to-do list. You can struggle with the instructions. Or perhaps you simply forget to take your medicine.
There are many reasons to struggle with medicine. For example, you may not completely understand the directions or the importance of the medication. Or perhaps you don't trust your doctor or don't believe there is a need for the medicine.
Struggling to remember to take medicine is normal. And there is no reason to be embarrassed. There are many tips and tricks to help you take medicine as prescribed.
Ways to remember
I remember this saying growing up: There’s more than one way to cook an egg. What does that mean? That saying means there is more than one way to do something. For example, you can scramble an egg, fry an egg, or hard-boil an egg. It all depends on what the person likes.
This can apply to remembering to take medicine. There is more than one way to remember. Below is a list that I have found works for me, but other things may work for you. Let's go over them together.
- Keep a list. Make a list of all your medicines. And make note of new instructions or changes on that list.
- Take your meds at the same time. Find a time of day that works for you. For example, I have a family member that takes all of their medicines with their coffee.
- Leave yourself notes. Making note of the medicine and the time you took it will help clear up confusion. This is also applicable if you are helping someone take their medicine.
- Use a pill organizer. You can get a pill organizer at a pharmacy. They come in different colors, sizes, and labels. This would allow you to see if you took your medicine at a quick glance. You will be able to see if you took your meds with a quick glance. Remember to keep the pill organizer away from heat, cold, children, and pets.
- Keep a calendar. Use a calendar to write down dosing instructions. Additionally, write down when refills are due. Contact your doctor or pharmacy for medicine refills one week before you run out. This will help ensure you don't miss any doses.
- Set an alarm. This helped me the most. Label your alarm so you know what medicine to take when the alarm goes off. Additionally, you can set more than one alarm for medicine.
- Use reminder tops. A reminder top is a bottle with a cap that has an alarm for when to take medication. Ask your pharmacist if that is available.
- Turn it upside down. Once you have taken your pills, turn that pill bottle upside down. At the end of the day turn it upright so you’re ready for tomorrow.
Discuss with your CF care team
It is so important to take medications as they are prescribed. But sometimes it can be hard to remember to do so. Finding ways to help you remember can help reduce the stress and frustration of accidentally missing a dose.
If you are having a hard time, ask for help. Talk to your CF team and see if they have any tips or tricks. Come back to this list and determine if any of these ideas can help you. And remember to tell your support network that you might need help. Communicating, learning, and being informed about medications can help you as you create a new habit with a new medication.
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