An important part of treatment is taking your medication daily and as required. Even though you might not feel any difference from skipping a medication, it will still affect your body and may create additional long-term problems. Understanding kidney disease, why you are taking each medication and what the medication does will keep you motivated to follow your medication schedule. In addition to your medical team, the pharmacist who fills your prescriptions will be able to help you understand your medications, when to take them, and can provide reminder tips. The pharmacist may also be able to tell you which foods could interact with different food.
You also will need to learn: 1) how to store your medications properly; 2) what you should do if you actually miss a dosage; 3) if you should take them with food or on an empty stomach, and 4) what are the potential side effects. Some people may keep their medication on a counter where it can always be seen, others use a basket or some kind of container to keep it in, and others designate a cabinet for it. Find what works for you. And talk with your health care team and pharmacist about ways to make an emergency medication kit.
It is not unusual for even the most compliant person to forget their medication at some pointA pill schedule may be the first step to make sure you take your medications as prescribed. It often includes having a list of the medications and times of when they are to be taken. Some people make the the timing of taking their meds part of a daily routine. Here are some other ways to have a pill schedule:
Check Off List
This can either be drawn, bought or downloaded from your computer. It can serve as a reminder and a way to directly check off when you take each medication.
You can make signs to hang around the house to remind you to take your medicines. You might have one in the kitchen to remind you to take phosphorus binders with food, another one by the door to remind you to take meds with you if you are going out, and another by your bed to make sure you have taken all of them.
Another easy to use method is to write down when you take your medication on a calendar. Some people use one of the free ones they receive through the mail, others buy special calendars, and still others download calendars from the internet. There are others who hang and display a whiteboard calendar which they erase and reuse every month.
You can download various medication apps to help you to remember when and what to take. Other patients or the health care team may be able to share their favorite ones. Some people set alarms or reminders on their cellular phones or use a smart watch to remind them when to take their meds. And still others set up reminders on their computers and/or electronic calendars.
Pill boxes are also used to organize meds on a weekly basis to make them easier to remember to take. Some pill boxes are divided into sections for identifying the time of day to take them.
Checking in daily with a friend or family member can also help you remember your medication. It acts as a buddy system, keeping you in charge of when you take them, but providing a back-up reminder if needed.
Some people will put reminder symbols such as poker chips, pennies or paper clips in a pocket or coin purse. The number they put in will equal the number of times they have to take their medicine. Then each time they take a dosage of their medication, they transfer the symbol to another pocket or a different coin purse compartment.
Other people have found that wearing a rubber band or wristband will be the visual reminder needed to take their pills. Find what works for you to help you organize your pills and to take them every day as prescribed. This will help both the quality of your life and the quality of your health.
Take a current medication list with the name of each medicine that you take and the dosage as well as over the counter drugs, such as vitamins, with you to each doctor appointment. You will want to include the reason you take the drug, when each one was started, and what doctor prescribed it. Give this information to your family physician, nephrologist, dentist, podiatrist, cardiologist, eye doctor, and any other health care provider that you see. It is helpful for them to know what medicines you take. It is also important information when they need to prescribe a new medicine for you to make sure that it does not interfere with one of your other meds.