You’ve just been prescribed an antibiotic for a sinus infection. The medication is supposed to be taken three times a day with water, and you should make sure to spread out the medication evenly. For the best results, take it at the same time every day and until the prescription runs out.
You are also on diabetic medication, which is taken twice a day with food. And then there is the statin to lower your cholesterol. Take that once a day at night – not to mention your eyedrops that you take twice a day, vitamin D supplements and your hormone replacement therapy. You might as well add in a low-dose antidepressant after all that.
This is a reality for many people, especially senior citizens, and adhering to the schedule, dosage and precautions can be a daunting task indeed.
Dominic Mellette, chief pharmacy officer at Carolina Community Pharmacy in Greenwood, explained that there are many factors that attribute to problems with medication adherence.
“People that live alone and maybe don’t have family that check in on them,” he said. “Or maybe there is some cognitive decline.”
But, to be fair, sometimes the sheer frequency of taking these medications can be hard for anyone – young or old.
“People are busy, and remembering to take medications is hard, especially when you are taking them three to four times a day,” he said.
There also is the issue of having prescriptions refilled at different times.
“Luckily we will try to sync prescriptions here for people who take multiple medications. We will need to be given a couple of months to make it work, but we should be able to do that. We can have the doctor write one prescription for a less period of time so that it will sync up with another one.”
That way, people aren’t making multiple trips to the pharmacy to pick up their meds, which for many, is not easy.
“Believe it or not, there are many insurance companies that offer a ride to the pharmacy. One in particular offers up to 24 rides in a year,” he said.
He also said that Carolina Community Pharmacy will call to remind people when their prescriptions are about to run out.
“Getting that reminder, especially for high-risk patients that we have identified, could save their lives,” Mellette said.
And it isn’t just reminders to refill prescriptions that can help with medication adherence. According to Mellette, pharmacies such as Carolina Community Pharmacy can divvy up pills into separate labeled pouches for patients to have each day. They can be organized by day and times of day.
Of course the old “pill organizer” that you always saw your grandmother fiddling with as she ate her breakfast is still a go-to for many pharmacists.
“It works well for people on multiple pills,” Mellette pointed out.
There is also a customized app Carolina Community Pharmacy offers, which sends the patients notifications when it is time to take their medication. There are three options the patient can click on to interact — remind, bypass or took it.
“Look, it’s a simple concept. If you don’t take your blood pressure medication, your blood pressure will go up sky high. If you don’t take your diabetic medication, you could end up in a diabetic coma. If you don’t take your antibiotic correctly, you could end up with a bacterial infection. Not taking medications that are prescribed is very serious,” Mellette concluded.
For more information on Carolina Health Centers’ Carolina Community Pharmacy in Greenwood, visit www.carolinahealthcenters.org or call 864-330-8230.
By Theresa Stratford