Did you know that unused medicines cost the NHS around £300 million every year? Two thirds of patients say that they don’t take their medicine because they forget. Here are a few easy ways to help you remember. Talk to your pharmacist to get their advice too.
- Use apps to remind you
Have a look at some NHS apps which can help you manage your medicines. For example, Echo can provide reminders about how and when to take your medication. It also delivers your NHS repeat prescriptions free of charge, making it easier to order and manage your medication.
- Use reminders on your phone
Set alarms or calendar updates to remind you when and what to take.
- Keep your medicine somewhere in sight
It’s much easier to remember if you keep it near the things you access for everyday tasks (eg near the calendar – see the point above!).
- Ask someone else to remind you
Ask a friend or family member to give you a ring when you need to take your medication.You could also arrange for any care workers to visit you at the same time that you’re meant to take your medicines
- Go manual!
If you already use a wall calendar, just mark a little cross on today’s date when you take that day’s pill.
- Take your medication mindfully
Say it out loud when you take it, so you don’t take it automatically. For example: “I’m taking Friday’s pill now.” This is more likely to stick in your mind and not confuse you about whether you’ve already taken it.
- Get a dosette box
If you have a complicated medication regime with different pills taken at different times of the day, a pharmacist can provide them in dosette boxes. These are plastic boxes with small compartments that clearly show which pills need to be taken at what time of day.Dosette boxes are not always available for free on the NHS and they’re not suitable for every type of medicine. Ask your pharmacist for more information about dosette boxes if you think they could be helpful.You could also buy an automatic pill dispenser – this beeps when it’s time to take the medicine and a small opening allows access to the correct pills at the right time
Need more information?
- Talk to your pharmacist for advice about remembering medication.
- If you are a carer for someone have a look at some more tips from the NHS about administering medicines here
- Did you know? If you or the person you care for is taking more than one medicine and has a long-term health condition, they can get a free medicines use review with their pharmacist. This is a chance to talk in confidence about any problems they’re having with their medicines.