Like most people, you probably forget to take your medications now and then. Maybe you’ve stopped taking some of the pills your doctor has prescribed altogether, whether it’s because of their costs or side effects, your drug regimen’s complexity, or simple forgetfulness. You can use several strategies on your own and with your doctor’s help.
What you can do
- Remind yourself. Smartphones and desktop and tablet computers can be setto give you a daily reminder to take your pills. Even an “old-fashioned” pillbox orpaper calendar to mark each time you take your pills can be helpful.
- Test your blood pressure at home. Some studies suggest that people who check their blood pressure routinely at home are more likely to take their medications as directed. Ask your doctor to recommend a home blood pressure device.
- Learn about uncontrolled hypertension and its life-threatening risks. The more you know about high blood pressure and the dangers it poses, the more motivated you’ll be to take your medications. A good place to start learning more is on the American Heart Association’s website.
What you can do with your doctor’s help
- If your medications are too expensive: Your doctor may be able to prescribe less costly or available generic alternatives, which are available for hypertension.
- If you feel overwhelmed by your drug regimen’s complexity: Your doctor maybe able to prescribe combination pills that include two or more of the drugs you take.
- If you’re bothered by side effects: Tell your doctor, who can try lowering yourdosages or work with you to find drugs with similar therapeutic effects that youcan better tolerate.
- If you forget or don’t always have time to refill prescriptions: Ask your doctorif he or she can consolidate your refills to simplify refill requests and avoid makingmultiple trips to the pharmacy.
This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.