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6 Tips for Proper COPD Medication Adherence

Posted on August 19, 2016

by MyCOPDTeam user HOPEforCOPD

Taking your medication on time, at the right times, throughout the day will benefit you more than taking them at random whenever you remember to take them. Some people really struggle to remember how to take them as advised, and of course, to even bother taking them at all.

I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to take them until it was almost bedtime!

Here are my top six tips on how to take your medications properly and on time.

  • Write the directions down on a piece of paper in the order that your doctor recommends. You can also type them out on your computer using a font that appeals and enlarge them to fit one sheet of paper. Print that paper and put it in aplastic sheet protector. No matter how you do this, keep the list in the place you spend the most time in your home. Maybe that is the kitchen, on the end table next to your favorite chair in the living room, in the wall in the bathroom, or on the wall in your bedroom. Better yet, put it in all of those places!
  • Start taking your first medications within one hour of waking. This will help you maintain your breathing throughout the day.
  • Take your first inhaler, then WAIT 10-20 minutes before taking the next one. This allows time for each inhaler to start working and will help maximize the benefits of each inhaler. Wait 10-20 minutes between taking each inhaler. This may seem time consuming, but we are talking about your health. It is important!
  • Keep pills in a pill organizer with days of the week and time periods listed on each. Set alarms for them as well. Some medications you may take only on certain days; for instance, if you are on a long-term antibiotic. Mine are only taken on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This will help you remember and space those pills out as needed.
  • Make use of alarms. Most of us have some sort of alarm clock. But we need to set multiple alarms to be sure we take each dose precisely when we need to take it. This is especially important when you have to space your medications out several minutes in between or take something every few hours. (Albuterol “rescue” inhaler is most commonly prescribed to be taken every four hours.) If you have a iPad or other tablet or smartphone, you might want to download an app that can handle alerting you at each interval. You can find apps I like here. There are also numerous alarm sites you can use from your desktop computer or laptop.
  • Use a medication log sheet to track your medication. There are so many to choose from that you are sure to find one that fits your needs. You can write down when you took your medication each day and bring it to appointments with you. If you are concerned with wasting paper, just print one out and slip it into a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker right on the sheep protector to mark off when you took your meds. The downside to this method is that it can smear and not be easy to take to appointments. Many apps also record the medications you take and are completely portable for when you need to bring it to appointments with you.

Alarms can get annoying when they go off every hour. But, remember: This is your health, and taking your medications properly is more important than anything else you do today. Well, except breathing of course! But you won’t even be able to breathe well without your medications!

The more you use the tips above, the more it will become habit. No matter what type of medication (inhalers, pills, injectables, syrups, vitamins and other supplements), these tips will help keep you on track and at YOUR optimal health.

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