As you age, the number of prescribed and over the counter medications generally increase. It is important to take medications as directed, this can become more difficult as your vision and memory deteriorate with age.
Some tips for managing your medication:
- Carry a list of your medication with you at all times
- Learn as much as you can about the medications you are taking, including why you are taking the medication and any possible side effects
- Take note of any side effects experienced and inform your doctor immediately
- Always make sure you understand when and how to take each medication.
- For example, with food or on an empty stomach, before bedtime, not with diary products
- Do not take any other medication including those prescribed over the counter without consulting your doctor or pharmacist and ask what to do if you miss a dose
- Give any medication that has expired or been discontinued by your doctor to the pharmacist for disposal
- Take a list of all your medications, including vitamins and over-the-counter medication and their dosages, to every doctor appointment so that your medications can be reviewed
- Always read the labels on your medication carefully. Ask your pharmacist if they can make the print larger if you are having trouble reading the small print
- Never place different medications in the same container (they can interact with each other even before you take them)
- Talk to your doctor before you decide to stop taking medication. If a certain medication is causing you problems, you may be able to take an alternative medication. Some medications also need to be gradually reduced in order to avoid problems
- Never take other people’s medication and do not share you medication with others
- Do not change the way (time/dosage) you take a medication without talking to your doctor first
- Ask your doctor about the effects of alcohol on the medication you take. Some medications cannot be taken with alcohol under any circumstances.
Medication management options
Home Medicine Review (HMR) - Program to help you manage your medicines when living at home through a home visit from a Pharmacist.
Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) - Review from a Pharmacist when living in an aged care home
Webster-Pak - Webster-Paks create an easy and safe way of managing your medication. The Pharmacist will pre-pack your medication to ensure you are taking the correct medication at the right time of day.
Timers - There are medication timers available which serve as a reminder of when it is time to take your medication. These can be used in conjunction with your Webster-Pak’s. Varieties of timers/alarms are available to suit your specific needs.
Help and resources
Have a look at these resources to help you manage your medications:
- 1300 MEDICINE – 1300 633 424
- National Prescribing Service (NPS) – http://www.nps.org.au/
- Adverse Medicine Events Line – 1300 134 237
- Medicine List+ smartphone app – http://tinyurl.com/k6hebnn
- After Hours Doctor – (07) 3831 9999
- Medication Management For Family Caregivers – http://tinyurl.com/kbgtgbb
- My Medicine List – http://tinyurl.com/lzgwgoj
- MediCenter Pill Organiser – http://tinyurl.com/km62ut
- Tips on Safe Storage and Disposal of Your Prescription Medicines – http://tinyurl.com/ladvn2e
- LifeTec: Medication Management – 1300 885 886, http://tinyurl.com/laqm4fg
- Webstercare – 1800 244 358, http://www.webstercare.com.au/