Pill Planning 101: How To Never Forget A Dose Again

May 9, 2022

If you have ever forgotten to take your daily medication, then you know what an awful feeling it can be. Not only can forgetting your daily meds lead to health problems down the road, but it can also result in serious side effects due to high or low doses of medication. The best way to avoid these problems is to use Dosey every day and every night so that you never miss another dose of your important medications again. Here is how to get started with pill planning!

The main reasons why you should start planning your pills

When you take multiple medications, chances are there are certain times during your day when you may forget about taking your pills. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs are not taken on an as-needed basis; instead, they are taken daily at specific times. 

If you do not stick to that schedule and begin missing doses, it can lead to several unwanted problems down the road. One of those is that you could end up with an unnecessary (and expensive) trip to see your doctor or healthcare provider. Another is that if you stop taking your medication altogether, it can put you at risk of experiencing negative side effects or complications due to not being on it anymore!

The five types of people who should use a pill planner

People with more than one doctor; People who travel frequently; People with chronic illnesses that require daily medication; Seniors who are at risk for falls, especially in combination with polypharmacy (multiple medications); Anyone who has trouble swallowing pills. If you are not sure whether you need a pill planner, chances are it is worth finding out. 

Pill planners are relatively inexpensive and using one is almost certain to save you both time and money in case of an emergency or accident. Also, consider that one in 10 people between 50 and 69 years old falls each year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that falls cost nearly $30 billion annually in medical costs and reduced quality of life. The easiest way to avoid unnecessary costs? Be organized!

Check out this tablet-friendly calendar

A tablet-friendly calendar like Google Calendar or iCal is great for keeping track of your schedule and making sure you do not miss any scheduled medications. With these options, you can easily sync your tablet up with an online calendar account and set reminders for each dose. It may take a little getting used to, but it is well worth it to keep yourself organized and on time — especially if you are prone to forgetting things! No one wants to be that person who keeps calling their doctor’s office at 8 p.m.

Write on the containers

This tip is not just for people taking daily medications. It can also help people with things like vitamins or supplements, who need to take smaller doses than what you would usually see in daily medication packages. For example, if you are supposed to take one pill of your multivitamin each day, you can buy them all together in one bottle and label it with how many days there are until your next dose (i.e., Day 2 out of 14). Then, simply shake up the bottle and toss one down whenever you need it!

Make sure you put your medication in the right place

You need to have a place where you can put your pills. A pill planner or organizer can be very helpful in reminding you when it is time for each dose. But sometimes, even something as simple as putting your medication in a different place is enough to help remind you that it is time for another dose. 

The point is that if medications are scattered throughout your house and do not always get used promptly, then they are not helping you stay healthy; they are harming your health.

Use whatever reminders are available to you

Google Calendar, Apple Reminders, physical sticky notes… Do whatever it takes to remind yourself — at least one day in advance — to take your medications at the appropriate time. If you live with someone, enlist their help and find out if they are interested in creating their reminder system or having one created for them by you.

You can also keep track of all your various reminders by using an app like Google Calendar. It is pretty easy for those of us who do not have a chronic illness to forget we need certain medications regularly, but I think everyone can benefit from reminders.

Know what you need in advance

Before you leave for your appointment, make sure you know exactly what prescriptions or over-the-counter pills you will need. Once in your doctor’s office, it can be hard to find paper and pen fast enough to jot down everything before it slips your mind. This is especially true when multiple doctors are involved in your care plan; you may not have time for every issue between appointments. 

The best way to get around these challenges is by making sure all of your doctors and pharmacies have an up-to-date list of every prescription and OTC medication they are prescribing you. If they do not have one already, ask them if they would be willing to create one.

Keep up with expiration dates

It can be tricky to keep track of pill expiration dates, especially when they seem to change all the time. However, if you have any leftover pills in your medicine cabinet, check their expiration dates. A good rule of thumb is that if you are not sure whether you need it or not, throw it out — most medicines can last for at least two years past their expiration date. 

If you are taking multiple medications, which many people are these days, you may want to consider keeping a monthly pill planner like Dosey so you do not forget about important dosages every month. It syncs up with your Google Calendar and Apple Health app as well as a handful of other services and syncs pills with your iPhone calendar so you never forget!

Conclusion

Pill planning is one of those things that we all say we’re going to do, but that does not mean it happens. If you are currently pill-planning, kudos! If not, read on for some quick tips and resources. Remembering to take your pills every day (and what time) can be daunting and sometimes dangerous if you miss doses or do not space them out appropriately. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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