17 Special Topic Supplement: Vascular Diseases
ost people with cardiovascular disease are taking
doctor-prescribed medications. Those drugs
cannot work as expected if they are not taken
as directed. When not taken as prescribed they
can also cause side effects. Without knowing it, you could
counteract one medicine by taking it with another. Certain
foods can also affect medication.
Medication adherence (taking medicines as prescribed) is
important to effectively manage a condition. Here are some
tips for doing that.
Keeping track of your prescribed medications can be
challenging, especially if you’re taking several. Writing things
down will make managing your medications a lot easier. Use
this printable medicine tracker to stay organized. Go over it
with your doctor regularly to make sure that your medications
complement, and don’t counteract, each other.
HOW TO REMEMBER
• Take it at the same time every day.
• Take it along with other daily events, like brushing
• Use special pill boxes, like the ones divided into
sections for each day of the week (which can be
found at a drugstore).
• Ask people close to you to remind you.
• Keep a “medicine calendar” near your medicine
and make a note every time you take your dose.
• Put a reminder note on your medicine cabinet
• List your pills on a small dry-erase board
and mark the board when you take
• Purchase timer caps for pill
bottles to remind you when
to take medication.
• If you have a smartphone,
use a reminder app. Several
major pharmacies now have
apps that remind you when
to take your medicine and let
you mark it as taken.
TIPS FOR MEDICATION USE
• Understand what the medication is for, as well as how
and when you should take it.
• Make an instruction sheet for yourself by taping a sample
of each pill on a sheet of paper and writing down all the
information about it. But make sure to keep this sheet out
of reach of children and pets.
• Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it should be taken
with food or on an empty stomach.
• Simplify your routine by putting colored labels on your
medicine bottles: blue for morning, red for afternoon and
yellow for bedtime.
• If your medication routine is too complicated, ask your
physician or pharmacist to help you simplify it. For
example, substituting a pill that you can take once a day
rather than several times.
• If your medications are too expensive, talk with your
physician or pharmacist about financial assistance.
• If you’re away from home a lot, make sure
you carry enough with you to take the
prescribed doses while you’re out. Some
pharmacists will prepare blister packs for
daily or weekly meds. Ask your pharmacist.
• If you travel by air a lot, always carry
your medicines on the airplane
with you. Never pack them in your
luggage, which could be delayed or
even worse, get lost.
• Do not stop any medications without talking
to your physician or healthcare provider.
Heart360, a one-stop, easy-to-use set of
online tracking tools, includes a tool for tracking
medications as well as tools for blood pressure,
cholesterol, blood glucose, weight and physical
activity. With it you can track all of your
medications, their dosages, frequencies and
notes about side effects. Heart360 tracks your
health goal progress each time you enter your
levels. It allows you to print comprehensive
reports to share with your healthcare team.
All stories in this Life’s Simple 7 department
from Heart Insight Fall 2015.
Tips for managing