Medication Adherence

A guide for taking medication consistently

Organize your medicine

  • Use pill organizers that show the last time it was opened or organizers with alarms if you struggle to remember to take your medicine. These organizers can easily be found on Amazon or at other stores.
  • Use translucent organizers in order to see if the pill box is empty (and whether the medicine has been taken).
  • Use a visual reminder like a sticky note on the refrigerator.
  • Use a tally sheet to mark when the medication has been taken.
  • Use a calendar as a visual reminder.

Create a routine

  • Leave the pill organizer out somewhere where the patient passes by often and easily sees it when doing something in their daily routine. You could choose to leave it on the kitchen counter, bathroom counter, a nightstand, or anywhere else you’ll spot it easily.
  • Take it at the same time every day, and consider tying it to a specific task like eating a meal or getting ready for bed. Be sure to check if the medicine should be taken on a full or empty stomach.
  • Carry the medicine with you if you are always on the go.
  • If there is a specific time the patient always forgets to take the medicine, talk to the patient’s doctor to see if there can be dosage changes or timing changes to meet the needs of the patient’s schedule.
    • Is a 3-month supply best for the patient?

      • Check with your insurance company to see if the patient qualifies for 3-month supplies of the prescriptions.
      • If the insurance allows it, talk to your doctor about a 3-month supply. This can reduce the number of trips to the pharmacy and reduce missing doses between refills.

Set reminders and alarms

  • App reminders or alarms on smartphones are great ways to remember to take medicine.
  • Set alarms or notifications to remind you to have refills ready to go too!
  • Set up a reminder system for how to refill prescriptions.
    • Many pharmacies have automatic refills.

Tips for kids and teens

  • Have the patient take control or ownership.
    • At first, fill pill boxes together. Then transition to having the patient fill it by themselves. Check in with the patient frequently to ensure the medicine is being taken.
  • Set up a reminder system together for how to refill prescriptions.
    • Many pharmacies have automatic refills. Sign up for this together.
  • Use a sweetener like honey to mask any bad tastes associated with the medication.  Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure it’s safe to take a sweetener with your prescribed medicine.
  • Reward the patient for taking medication each time the medication is taken. For younger kids, sticker charts may be a great option.
  • Communication
    • Develop a strong communication system between all medication administrators.
      • Remember, parents, grandparents, caregivers, school nurses, babysitters, and/or siblings may all help with medication adherence.