A Medication Reminder

Taking medication as prescribed is an essential part of caring for yourself while you are ill, but a recent study from Emory University found that 20-50% of patients take their medications incorrectly. Reminders, like pill boxes labeled with days of the week can help people keep track of their medications. And now the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has created a pill card to give you another way to remember what you need to take and how to take it.You can find the AHRQ card template on the Internet at ( www.ahrq.gov/qual/pillcard/pillcard.htm) and print it out or save it to your personal computer so you can customize it with your own medication instructions. To avoid medication mix-ups, the AHRQ recommends that you describe each type of pill – its shape and color, for instance – and note any distinct markings if two pills look alike. To help with this, the AHRQ website contains images of pills that you can copy, color on the computer, and add to your pill card. You can also do this by hand. Keep your pill card near your medications or in a visible place, like on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Review your pill card with your doctor periodically to make sure that your dosages are correct and that you’re not still taking anything that you do not need. Also, check with your pharmacist if you notice a change in the color, shape or size of your pills – generic medicines in particular often change appearance.

The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter



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