Overcoming Medication Challenges
Have you ever missed or struggled with taking medications? You’re not alone. Keeping up with your medications can be challenging, but your MRx Cares health coach can help.
To help keep you on track, take a look at the issues below that many people have had when taking long- term therapies. Then read the tips that can help you take your medications when and how they are prescribed for you. Don’t stop taking your prescriptions without talking to your MRx Cares health coach, doctor or pharmacist.
Common Medication Issues
Forgetfulness means not remembering to take or refill your medications. It also involves being unsure whether you have taken them. To deal with this issue, try the following tips:
- Read prescription inserts from the pharmacy.
Keep this information so you know when and how to take the medication.
- Make visual aids. Write the medication name on a note with instructions and post it in a place you see every day.
- Link your medication regimen to your daily habits. For example, place your medication next to your coffee pot or by your toothbrush.
- Create electronic reminders. Set an alarm on your phone or device to tell you when to take or refill your prescription.
- Use a calendar or a journal. Write down every time you take your prescriptions so it becomes part of your daily routine.
- Fill a pill organizer. Putting your medications in one place can help you remember what to take and when.
- Answer refill reminder calls. Magellan Rx calls you every month to tell you that your next refill is due and arrange for your next delivery if needed.
- Call your health coach. Reach out for support on any issues you may be having about your prescriptions.
Your health coach will help you understand how you may benefit from taking your medications. He or she can work with you to set small, realistic goals so you can succeed in taking your prescriptions as prescribed.
When talking to your health coach, keep the following items in mind:
- Take part in your calls. They will help you explore reasons for not taking your medications. Your health coach is trained to help you work through these issues and guide you through this challenge.
- Ask questions. This is your health, and the better you understand your diagnosis, medication and your care plan, the easier it will be to follow.
- Write down anything you are unclear about between sessions. That way, you will remember what you wanted to ask your health coach.
- Create motivational note cards. These visual aids can state why you want to improve your therapy regimen. They can say things like, “I want to take control of my condition so I can spend many more years with my family.” Place them somewhere you will look each day.
- Be involved with your doctor’s care plan. Make decisions together so you will be more likely to take the prescriptions you have decided are best for you. Also make sure you ask for clear instructions for those medications.
- Remember that you are supported. Feeling comfortable with your regimen and discussing it with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist are very important to successful therapy.
- Research quality websites. For accessing health education information from the Internet such as those found in this Welcome kit on the References and Resources page.
Your health coach will help you understand what side effects might be related to your medications. He or she will also tell you what you can do to minimize them and how long the side effects may last. Many patients find relief knowing what to expect and how to handle them. You can manage your side effects by making sure that you:
- Read the medication insert from your pharmacy. This information will help you understand common side effects.
- Ask questions. There are no foolish questions when it comes to your health.
- Talk to your health coach. Your health coach will call you to check on your progress. Let your coach know how you’re doing so that he or she may help.
If you are taking a lot of medications, you may have trouble remembering to take each one and when. To solve this program, try the following tips:
- Use adherence tools. Put your prescriptions in pillboxes so they are all in one place, then set up alarms for when to take each medication.
- Take your medications as part of your daily routine. For example, take your therapies at a meal time or before bed.
- Ask about combination medications. Your doctor or pharmacist may have a way for you to take fewer prescriptions.
- Talk to your doctor about your dosages. You may be able to take certain medications less often.Discuss this with your doctor before making any changes.
- Adjust timing, frequency or amount. Most people have an easier time taking a medication once a day instead of two or three, so talk to your doctor about whether a once-daily option is right for you. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend that all your medications be taken at the same time of day, provided they don’t interact.
When first diagnosed, people may not accept that they have a chronic condition. It can take some time to be okay with the challenges that go along with managing a chronic illness. These challenges include the time and dedication it takes to keep on track of their doses. Whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-term therapy patient struggling with taking your therapy, you may benefit from talking with your health coach. How you feel about your diagnosis is an important step in maintaining your health. Your health coach will help you explore your feelings about your medication therapy. Accepting a chronic condition means that you need to:
- Learn more about your condition. Read information from reliable resources such as those included in this packet.
- Talk to your health coach. Your health coach will help you understand your condition and how your prescriptions help with it. He or she will also help you understand what can happen if you don’t take your medications.
- Engage in your follow-up calls. Your health coach will call you every month to check on your progress and talk about any health concerns you might have.
- Focus on the benefits of taking your medication. Taking the advice of your health coach will help you empower yourself to manage your condition.
Working collaboratively to address cultural or religious biases is an important component of the MRx Cares Program. Your health coach will help you find ways to maintain your personal beliefs while taking care of your health. Make sure you are open with your health coach so that he or she can help you address any conflicts.
Sometimes, taking a medication may be difficult because of its price. However, you have options for dealing with high-cost treatments:
- Request generic drugs. Depending on your plan, these drugs may cost less than brands.
- Use medical financial aid. Your health coach can help you find this support.
- Identify assistance through drug makers.
Pharmaceutical companies may offer discount programs. Your health coach can help you with this, too.
- Screening for possible depression. Clinically depressed patients are more than twice as likely not to take their medications as prescribed. If you think you are suffering from depression, your health coach will use a screening tool. If the tool shows that you might be depressed, your health coach may help to arrange for you to have a more in-depth assessment with your doctor. Make sure you are open with your health coach so that he or she can help you through this issue.
Health literacy is how well people understand prescription information, the importance of lab tests and monitoring, and their health benefits. Understanding these things enables people to make appropriate choices about their care. Sometimes, barriers can prevent people from understanding health information, such as complex clinical language or speaking another language. When you don’t understand your doctor’s orders, you may be less likely to take your medication correctly. To improve your health literacy, follow these tips:
- Ask your health coach for plain language instructions. He or she will help you understand how to take your medication. Your health coach will use non-medical language and provide you with more resources to help you. These include the welcome packet you received as part of the MRx Cares program.
- Use language interpreter services. Magellan Rx provides these services for non-English-speaking members.
Partnering with your MRx Cares health coach can help you identify any barriers preventing you from taking your medication as directed. He or she will work with you to set attainable goals that will help you maintain your health. Taking your medications is extremely important and there are many reasons that may interfere with that. As with any service, the MRx Cares program does have limitations. Because many of our patients have chronic conditions, the MRx Cares program cannot cure a disease, nor can our health coaches make a diagnosis or prescribe a treatment. The MRx Cares program aims to help patients manage their medications and lead healthy, vibrant lives. If you have any concerns regarding your medications, reach out to your MRx Cares health coach to discuss. They are always willing to listen and help you to maintain or improve your health.
Therapy support and links
Oyekan, Elizabeth, et al, “The B-SMART Appropriate Medication-Use Process: A Guide for Clinicians to Help Patients—Part 1: Barriers, Solutions and Motivation.” The Permanente Journal. Retrieved March 2014, from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3034468.