8 Tips for Organizing Your IBD Drugs

If You Take Several Drugs, You Will Need To Get Organized

Being organized about your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be an important part of keeping your treatment plan intact. Taking multiple IBD medications can make this task even more difficult, so it's important to have an organization system in place. Here are some tips to help you take your drugs on time and never run out of refills.

Get Organized Once A Week

It doesn't have to be Sunday -- you can do it whichever day is best for you, but pick one day and stick to it. Photo © Felipe Wiecheteck
Every Sunday night, spend a few minutes to divide your doses for the next week into your pill case. Review your medication schedule and your alarm system or reminders. This way, you only have to struggle with your pill schedule one time each week, and then you don't have to think about it again. You just need to follow your alarms or check your doses off your list each day as you take them.

Keep A List -- And Check It Twice

Put that list together and keep it current. It is vitally important that anyone taking care of you know what drugs you are taking. Photo © Rawich

Make two lists: one list of all the medications you're currently taking and one of all the medications you have ever taken. Try to include the dates and dosages. Take your list with to you to each doctor's appointment to help you remember which drugs you're taking. You can also keep a copy in your wallet or purse for medical professionals to find if you are ever in an accident.

Invest In A Dry Erase board

Dry Erase Board
A dry erase board is perfect for keeping track of medications, especially pain medications. Photo © Elvis Santana
You can find these handy dry erase boards in just about any discount store that carries school or office supplies. It's a great tool to keep track of your medication doses. I found this especially helpful when taking pain medication, as these drugs left me a little fuzzyheaded, and unable to remember the time of my last dose.

Write the times of day on the board along with the medications you should be taking at that time. As you take your meds, put a little check mark next to each one, preferably using a different color pen. The next morning, erase your check marks and start over again.

Get Digital

Cell Phone
You probably have one of these in your pocket or your hand right now. Use it to track your meds. Photo © Salvatore Vuono

Countless watches, PDAs/Palmtops, cell phones, tablets, electronic organizers, and other gadgets have built-in alarms. Get out that instruction booklet and learn how to use whatever devices you have (and these days most of us have a few!). Set multiple alarms if necessary, and you won't forget your meds again. If you like using applications, and your devices support them, try downloading an application made for people who have IBD.

Don't Keep Pills In The Bathroom

You might take your meds in the bathroom, but you absolutely should not keep them there. Photo © chokphoto
We all have the tendency to put our drugs in the "medicine cabinet" in the bathroom. This is actually not a good place to store medication. The heat and humidity from the bathtub or shower can have an adverse affect on your meds. In addition, it can be easy to drop pills in the sink or toilet (admit it -- you've done it!), and that's literally money down the drain.

Use A Pill Case

Pill Case
A pill case is the most useful thing you can have to help you manage your medications. Photo © koratmember
Take a look around your local pharmacy counter and you're likely to see a variety of pill cases. Think about which one will work best for your schedule and lifestyle. I have one which has 7 holders (one for each day of the week), each of which has 4 compartments (morning, noon, evening, bedtime), all of which fit into a handy little tray. Every morning, I can take the holder out for that day when I take my morning meds, stick it in my purse, and I have my next dose with me no matter where I am.

Get Your Refills

Prescription Bottle
Don't wait on getting your refills -- you never know when something unexpected will happen. Photo © Foxumon

Refill medications several days before running out. Here's where your digital device, online drugstore, or even just a calendar can really come in handy. Set an alarm, write notes in your calendar, or sign up for email reminders from an Internet drugstore several days before your last dose is scheduled to run out. Call in for your refill right away, leaving 4 to 5 days for shipping if necessary. The extra days will be useful if your pharmacy is out of stock or backed up with orders.

Refill By Mail

Open Box
If you have the option for a mail-order, take advantage of it. Photo © Againstar
Call your insurance carrier and ask about a mail-order program for medications. This is a great tool for maintenance medications (medications that are taken everyday for a long period of time). You may be able to receive a 90-day supply of your medication all at once -- at a reduced cost.

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