Prescription medication is constantly increasing and becoming a more important part of modern healthcare. Schedules need to be kept and medication can be expensive, so it’s no surprise that some people struggle with medication adherence.
Ideas for improving medication adherence
- Incentives such as cash rewards or gift cards for free groceries or gas can help those on a fixed income stretch their dollars further. One interesting incentive is the “One & Done” medication adherence app from Medisafe Medication Management (Medicine Reminder) (iPhone Application), where users are rewarded with an entry into a raffle after they take their medication daily.
- For medications that require multiple doses per day, reminders via SMS text messages or even through a connected pill bottle can help schedule straight. A medication reminder app is the “I medication” app available on Android and iPhone, which uses smartphones’ GPS to remind medication users of medication times.
- For medications that require multiple doses per day, medication schedules could be put directly on pill bottles (for example, one pill morning, one evening), or medication timers could be used (such as with the medication reminder system Medisafe ) to help keep track of when medication needs to be taken.
- Some medication adherence apps can help by keeping track of symptoms too (for example, how well you are doing), in addition to medication taking. A good current list of medication adherence apps is available on QS by MIT.
Ideas for overcoming barriers
- Money management tips such as medication discount cards from medication manufacturers, medication coupons from medication companies, and comparison shopping at different pharmacies for medication costs can all help with medication costs.
- For those with a fixed income or in financially unstable situations, a free medication program may be available in the United States via drug manufacturer patient assistance programs .
- Avoiding medication mismanagement by purchasing generic medication when possible is another way to improve medication adherence since it often costs far less than the brand-name medication.
- Incentives for taking medications regularly such as gift cards or grocery store vouchers can also help stretch someone’s limited financial means further.
- A tip from the National Community Pharmacists Association website says that they recommend checking if there are any special instructions on your prescription label before getting medication from a pharmacy to help prevent medication mismanagement and medication errors.
Ideas for improving medication adherence in the long-term
- Seeking treatment (such as therapy or medication) for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more can improve medication adherence.
- For those that do not need medication on a regular basis or are not required to take medication regularly, asking a physician about taking medication only when you actually need it (for example, calling them with your symptoms before prescribing medication) may be an option too. This can reduce cost and avoid any unnecessary side effects of medications taken continuously by accident.