As a pharmacist, I fill hundreds – even thousands – of prescriptions each week. This may seem like a lot, but now consider that about 50 percent of patients with chronic conditions fail to take their daily medications as prescribed. This means a significant number of people are risking their health and additional costs by not taking their medicines correctly.
To raise awareness of the risks associated with not adhering to doctors’ orders to take medications as prescribed and to help patients never miss a day of medication, we’re issuing a nationwide Wake Up Call.
As a pharmacist, I get to play a part in helping North Texans overcome any barriers to adherence by providing advice and tools and some helpful tips such as:
· Prep your pills: Find a pill box that suits your needs and get organized! Pill boxes are a great way to group your medications together by time of day and ensure that you don’t forget a single dosage. They’re also easy to transport in a purse or bag when you’re on the go (just don’t leave them overexposed to extreme heat or sunlight).
· Set up reminders: Whether it’s an alarm on your mobile phone or free tools like Walgreens Pill Reminder on our app, it’s easy to remember when to take your medications with a programmed cue. Research shows that patients using pill reminders were more likely to take their medications correctly.
· Simplify refills: If you have multiple prescriptions, make the refill process easier by switching to a 90-day supply or setting up automatic refills. Consider using complimentary time and money savers such as the Save a Trip Refills program that coordinates your prescription refill schedule to a single pick-up date.
· Educate yourself and ask questions: Knowledge is power, and we pharmacists can be a fantastic resource when it comes to better understanding your medications, including side effects and drug-to-drug or drug-to-food interactions. If you have a question or concern, don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to your pharmacist. There’s no charge and you can even chat with us using our pharmacy chat service 24/7.
· Consider prescription delivery: If you find yourself unable to make a trip to the pharmacy, you can order your refills to come directly to you. You may want to consider a service we offer that gives you the option of prepaying and picking up prescriptions in a dedicated line or getting your eligible medications delivered to your home.
One of the most rewarding things about being a pharmacist is caring for patients and their families. This doesn’t mean just giving out prescribed medicines, but also helping customers take them correctly, which can help them enjoy a healthier and better quality of life.
Matthew Pataky is a Walgreens pharmacist located at 4350 Oak Park Lane in Fort Worth. For more tips and information on how to adhere to taking medications as prescribed, check out www.walgreens.com/pharmacy.