Published on March 01, 2016

Make your meds work for you

Tips for minding your medications

pill boxGetting older often means having to take more medications.

“The average adult over age 65 is on five or more medications,” says Jeff Olson, DO, a family medicine physician with Mercy Primary Care at Holme Avenue.

Medications are important for good health. But managing multiple drugs can be hard sometimes. If you’re struggling to keep up, let your doctor know. “There’s a lot we can work on,” Dr. Olson says.

He shares these helpful tips:

Tell all of your providers what drugs you're taking. Bring a current list (or even your meds) to appointments. “That way, we can see what you’re taking and verify that you’re taking them correctly,” Dr. Olson says.

Report side effects right away. Do you dread taking a medicine because it upsets your stomach? Does it make you feel bad in other ways? Let your doctor know. He or she may be able to prescribe a different drug.

Remember to take your meds. If you sometimes forget, a drugstore pillbox with dividers for each day removes the guesswork. “You can see when you’ve taken each medication,” Dr. Olson says.

Finally, if you have any questions about your medications, just ask your doctor or pharmacist. “We’re happy to answer them,” Dr. Olson says.

For more medication safety tips, download our fact sheet [pdf, 234kb].