Remembering to Take Pills

It can be a challenge to remember to always take prescribed medicines.  When I first was given one prescription, it was no problem.  Adding a second was still okay, but adding a third made it a little hard to remember which pills I’d taken.

My solution was two-fold.  For my prescriptions, I’d take all three bottles down from the cupboard and set the bottles in front of me.  I’d open one bottle, take that medicine, then move the bottle off to the left.  Next I’d open the second bottle, take that medicine, and move the second bottle off to the left.  Finally, I’d open the third bottle, take the final medicine, and put everything back in the cupboard.  It worked great for the prescriptions, but I was so tired of opening bottles and swallowing pills that the other part of my solution was to stop all supplements (vitamin C, calcium…)

When these three medicines were to be taken only with morning and evening meals, the dancing-bottles system worked reasonably well.  When a mid-day dose was added, things got a bit more complicated.  I very quickly realized that I needed a way to confirm that I’d taken every dose.  With a family history of osteoporosis, I also suspected that I needed a way to get calcium back into the mix of pills I was swallowing.

It was simple enough to make a little chart and print a list of everything I needed to take.  I’d tape the list to my kitchen cupboard where my meds were stored, and use a highlighter to mark off every dose as I took it.  Problem solved.

After a while, though, opening all those bottles every day got tedious.  About that time, our superhero, RA Guy, did a post about a pill sorter he was using, and I got one to try.  It was easy to see why he liked his – I sure liked mine.  Instead of opening all those bottles daily, I only needed to open them once a week.  When I filled it the fourth week, I knew it was time to visit my friendly pharmacist again.

Nothing lasts forever, though.  Unfortunately, some of the pill compartments have started to pop open, spilling my pills all over the counter (or onto the floor, and a few times even down the sink).  If I had fewer or smaller pills, I’d buy another box like what’s wearing out.  I suspect, thought, that I need something with larger compartments.

Looking at replacement options,  I found a fairly elaborate one (pictured at right) and contacted the company selling it.  This has the features I like about my current pill-boxes (four separate compartments per day, every day is individually removable), but holds an entire month’s worth of medicine and has slightly larger compartments than what I currently have.  It also includes an alarm; if (like me) you’re sometimes tempted to skip lunch, that alarm calls you to come eat so you can take your prescriptions.  The down-side is that it takes a whole lot more space than the flat little boxes I use now.  I’ve found a local supplier, so even got to see the thing 3D.  Price is what’s holding me back right now (well, price and trying to figure out where I’d have space to put the thing – it’s not exactly inconspicuous).

Whether it’s a single-compartment box at the corner drug-store, a more elaborate box like I’m using now, or the mammoth one I’m considering next, I highly recommend a pill-box to help keep track of multiple medications.

Disclosure:  I have not receive any compensation for expressing this opinion – however, I’d be willing to accept a gift of one of these awesome looking pill boxes and giving it a workout so that I could write a thorough review after putting it through its paces.

*Sorry, don’t recall who sent me a link to the fancy pill organizer. I’d give credit if I knew.  Feel free to speak up in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Remembering to Take Pills

  1. I that second month’s-worth pill box set–and I love it. The one I have doesn’t include the digital clock, however. I believe I paid about $25 for it, which seemed like a lot at the time. It’s worth it, though.

    • Thank you. If you only paid $25, then the alarm is $45. I’ll bet there are less expensive alarm clocks around. I’ll see if the alarmless version is still available.

  2. Pingback: Shoutout: This Week’s Grand Rounds Hosted by the Prepared Patient Forum « Medical Lessons

  3. I’d always had a problem with taking my meds on time until I found MedOnTime a free android application. Really good app, helps me keep on track with my meds. I haven’t missed a dose since I started using this app

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