General and simple tips for handling and taking medications Part 2 of 4

13 Apr

Allergies-Make a list of all your allergies.  The list of allergies should include both medication allergies and food allergies. DO NOT take any medications you are allergic to.  Usually the most serious allergic reaction occurs when you take the medication for the second time.  This can be life threatening.

If you have questions about your reactions or allergies tell the pharmacist, physician or nurse.  If you ever feel like you are choking or your throat is closing up get to your emergency room.  Call 9-1-1 or have someone take you to the emergency room.  Do not drive yourself.

This holds true for allergic reactions to insect bites, food, medications or any type of reaction that might possibly be an allergic reaction. Have someone note if you had been around something different such as: lawn fertilizer, chemicals of any sort, fresh paint, perfumes, or anything different.  This information will definitely help expedite treatment.

Mail Order Medications-Sign up for automatic refills.  It’s hard to keep track, but you may need to put a reminder into your cell phone, make a note on your calendar, reminder on your computer.  Most mail-order prescriptions can be faxed directly from the physicians office.

If you have automatic refills make sure you have enough money in your account to pay your co-pay when refills are scheduled.  You don’t want to be charged overdraft fees from your bank. Any faxed prescriptions still have the tendency to be incorrect.  You need to verify you have the proper medication.

Over The Counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, herbs.  All medications interact with one another to varying degrees.  This includes anything you would purchase without a prescription.  Check with your pharmacist when purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) medications for their help.  They will be able to help with your pharmacy needs and check your prescription medications with your OTC medications.

Organizing Medications-Use 1 week large or small pill containers.    They are usually frowned upon by medical professionals. You might be on the wrong day or time periodically but don’t be overly concerned. You will not overdose if you take the wrong dose on the wrong day or time.  That will happen periodically. Know it is usually okay.  You might not be feelings your best for a short period of time…but you will be okay.  If it’s a medical emergency always go to your local Emergency Room or call 9-1-1

If you have a TBI and take medication directly from the pill bottle and forget repeatedly if you took the medication or did not…you are at higher risk of taking too much.  I know this from experience. When sorted out in a pill organizer on a weekly basis it helps with the memory issues.  There’s just no way to determine how much you took if you keep forgetting and continuously take it from the prescription pill bottle.

Sort pills out and put any extra pill organizers in clear freezer bags so not to spill them.  This would be if you are sorting more than one week, or take your organizer with you if you leave home for a couple of days.  Take a small container if you need medications for only one day.

When traveling with medications always carry the original bottles in a small bag in case you need something that you do not take on a daily basis or if you need to show proof of medications.  Never leave home without original medication bottles. 

Always take all your medications with you…including your sorted organizer.  Do NOT keep medications in a hot car.  You might need to put them in a small lunch tote with ice to help keep them cool.

****Always keep out of reach of children, animals and anyone else you are concerned about.  They may be fascinated by the organizers or pills.


Vacation & Medications-Take all your medications with you.  Put them in a small bag and never put in your checked-luggage.  Carry them where-ever you go.  You don’t want them lost or stolen.  If you are using the airlines to travel, always put your medications in your carry-on.  Many times your luggage does not arrive at the same time you do. Sometimes it never arrives.  You don’t want your medication stolen. Be in charge of yourself and all the things you need to survive!

Medications and Websites. There are some medication assistant programs available.  I don’t have an entire list here, but you need to be aware of this service for yourself or someone you know.  These are certain programs to help if you cannot afford your medications.  Depending on certain medications some may be free.

The following are websites and telephone numbers to help you get the medications you need and cannot afford.  This can be a difficult task for many people to do on their own so you might need help filling out the necessary forms to qualify for these programs.

Medication Bag– Use a heavy-duty clear see-thru bag to carry medications in, especially when you have several medications.  One large freezer bag should be sufficient.  There are other clear cosmetic bags you can also invest in.  That’s a personal preference.  I suggest see-thru bags for nearly everything…especially for those with TBI or memory issues.  If you can’t see it, you might not remember it. It just doesn’t exist!

Index Cards-Write all your medications, dosage, frequently, and what you are taking it for on an index card.  Just pull out the index card and hand it to the nurse, physician, or pharmacist.  Carry this on you.  Make a copy of card and put in your medication bag.

General and simple tips for handling and taking medications Part 2 of 4 covered the following:

  1. Allergies
  2. Mail-Order Medications
  3. Over-The-Counter Medications (OTC)
  4. Organizing Medications
  5. Vacations and Medications
  6. Medications and Websites
  7. Medication bags
  8. Index cards

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3 responses to “General and simple tips for handling and taking medications Part 2 of 4

  1. heidirmoore

    April 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    This is such helpful information. I have a hot tip that can really help if you have LOTS of pills to take, or if you are doling out the medication for you and a partner. I type and number a list of my medications with explicit dosing information.

    Then, I write the number in bright blue pen on masking tape and put the tape on top of the corresponding medication bottle. When it’s time to put out medications, I take out all the bottles and my weekly pill containers.

    HINT: If you take pills for which the dosing time is crucial, like I do, with dosing morning, noon, and night, buy three of the pill caddies you show in picture #2 (that say MTWRFSS) — I mark them with color-coded Magic Markers so I know which is which (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner) (I take so many pills every day that mine gets pretty complicated).

    Anyway, I look at the list and get out bottle #1 and follow the dosing advice — okay 2 pills in the morning spot, and one in the lunch spot for every day of the week. Then I get out bottle #2 — this one goes in the dinner spot every day of the week. And so on.

    This way, I am far less likely to forget my meds, and I know ahead of time when I’m running out. I also can keep two people’s meds straight this way.

    (Oh, and use the masking tape on top because then every time you get a new container, you just peel off the tape and pop it onto the new one). Hope this helps somebody!


    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      April 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      This is excellent! I never thought of this one, and to divide them into these three totally separate pill sorters is fantastic idea when you take so many. I’m sure this will be helpful to many. I will copy your suggestions and put it in my next post to make sure others read and understand. You explain it so well. I’m always open to ideas so others can be helped. Take care and stay safe.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      April 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      This works perfect in my next post following another tool to help with medications. Thanks.


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