Background

Medication management is a daily activity for many individuals. Although medication effects include many positive health-related benefits, medication use is not risk free. The following are recommendations to maximize medication benefits and minimize medication-related risks.

  1. Use medications wisely
    • Discuss medication concerns with your health care providers (doctors, pharmacists, nurses). Write out your medication questions before each medical appointment.
    • Review medication fact sheets provided by the pharmacy. Ask questions if any information is not clear.
  2. Take medications safely
    • Take your medications exactly as prescribed.
    • Ask your health care provider the following questions:
      • “How will I know if the medication is working correctly?”
      • “What side effects should I be aware of that are serious?”
    • If laboratory tests are ordered by your health care provider, be sure to get an explanation of results.
    • Keep a current list of all medications (prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and herbal supplements). Include the drug name, dose, and amount taken each day. Have it reviewed by your health care provider and pharmacist each time you receive a new prescription.
    • When you receive a new prescription, check with the pharmacist to be sure the drug name and dose are correct.
    • Develop a system for taking your medications correctly and on time. Using a pill box is one method that is effective and inexpensive.
    • Schedule your maintenance medication refills after the first full week of the month.
  1. Manage medication costs
    • If you have insurance benefits that pay for medications, consult with your insurance provider to make certain you are obtaining maximum benefits.
    • You need to know what medications are covered or not covered by your insurance.
    • If you do not have insurance to pay for your medications, or if they are too expensive,
      • Call competing pharmacies to compare prices.
      • Ask your health care provider if there is a generic equivalent available for your medication, which is often less expensive than name brands.
    • Tell your health care provider if you are unable to afford a prescribed medication. They may have samples or be able to offer information about where you might get them for less.
    • To get help, call CICOA’s Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 317-254-3660, or go online to www.benefitscheckup.org