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How Do I Manage Medications?

It is important to track what medications are being taken and when. Here are tips to manage medications and prevent mistakes:

  • Always inform all members of your healthcare team of any drug or latex allergies.
  • When you leave the hospital or treatment facility, obtain a copy of the discharge instructions. They will include a list of all current medications your family member is taking.
  • When picking up a prescription, make sure the order has the right name on it and includes dosing instructions.
  • Ask the provider and/or pharmacist:
    • What the medication is for (its use)
    • What to do if a dose is missed
    • When and how to take it (on empty or full stomach, daytime or bedtime, etc.)
    • What the possible side effects are
  • Contact the healthcare provider if you observe side effects after the medication is administered.
  • Inform the provider of all other medications. This includes supplements and herbal products being taken since there might be possible side effects or harmful drug interactions.
  • Keep an up-to-date medication log with all prescription and non-prescription items. Include over-the-counter medications like antacids, pain relievers, supplements, high-energy drinks, and herbal products.
  • Carry the medication log with you for each medical appointment.
  • Use a seven-day pillbox to help you organize the medications.
  • Always consult a provider first to discuss stopping or adjusting the dosage of any medication.
  • Contact your case manager to discuss resources if financial difficulties interfere with obtaining medications.
  • Medications should NEVER be taken without talking to the healthcare provider first.

Tips for Tracking Side Effects and Bodily Functions:

  • List side effects of medications (including the date and time they occurred) on the medication log. Ask the doctor which side effects are serious and call immediately if they occur.
  • Write down results of bodily functions (such as blood pressure, blood sugar, urine levels, colostomies, etc.). If you are checking your family member’s blood pressure or blood sugars at home, write down the values and the date and time they were taken.
  • Taking the results of blood pressure readings and other results to appointments with healthcare providers can help the providers follow the service member or veteran’s condition over time.