Helpful hints for good health
Here’s the scenario: You see your doctor for your annual wellness visit and she prescribes medicine for high blood pressure. But the medicine is more than you can afford. What do you do?
Whether it’s not getting a prescription filled to save money or simply forgetting to take your medicine, not sticking to doctor’s orders can have a huge impact on your health. It’s important to get — and take — the medicines you need. Whether cost is keeping you from getting your medicine or you are struggling to manage all your prescriptions, here are a few solutions to help.
STEP 1: Get organized
• Make a list of the medicines you take. Include prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbal supplements. Keep this list with you when you go to all your doctors’ appointments or to the pharmacy.
• Use pill containers to keep track of the medicines you need to take each day and when you should take it.
• If you use an organizer or calendar, make a note to remind yourself to take your medicines. Start a habit of taking them at the same time each day such as right before your daily walk, when you brush your teeth, at the start of your favorite TV program or maybe with the same meal.
• Track side effects from your medications.
STEP 2: Talk to your doctor
• Concerned about cost? When you get a prescription, ask if there is a generic or similar, lower-cost drug you can take. Generic medicines usually cost less than brand-name drugs.
• Discuss side effects you’ve had while on your medication.
• Show your medication list to your doctor.
• Take notes and ask questions! Find out if the medication should be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Does this medication interact with certain foods and beverages?
• To save time, you can also arrange to have your prescriptions mailed to you.
STEP 3: Talk to your pharmacist
• Your pharmacist can answer questions you have about your medicines.
• Ask your pharmacist to place your prescription medicines in easy-to-open containers if you have a hard time taking off child-proof caps and do not have young children living in or visiting your home. Remember to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.
• Make sure your pharmacist knows all the medications you take, especially if you’re getting any prescriptions filled at a different pharmacy.
STEP 4: Talk to you insurer
• Have a question about your prescription drug coverage? Talk to health insurer about which medications are covered and your portion of the cost.
It’s important to always take your medication as prescribed. Reducing the amount you take or skipping doses can greatly impact how the medication works and how effective it is at keeping you healthy. If you have trouble managing your medication, the most important thing you can do is talk to someone and let them help you. Florida Blue members can visit me at the Florida Blue Center in Winter Park Village for assistance with managing medication.
Carol Lemerond, ARNP, is a community nurse practitioner based in the Florida Blue Center located in Winter Park Village. Carol provides on-site health screenings for Florida Blue members as well as one-on-one health coaching to discuss a member’s health priorities, assist in overcoming barriers and making permanent changes to improve a member’s health. She also leads lifestyle improvement programs at the Florida Blue Center that are free and open to the public to learn more about nutrition, blood pressure management, stress management and diabetes prevention.