The American Recall Center contacted me about this month being Talk About Your Medicines Month and offered me that cute little banner. I have so many thoughts about medications to share so I’ll break them up a little. I’ve worked with ARC before. And I’m not being compensated for this post, all opinions are my own and are not medical advice.
You know that little line on the bottom of your appointment reminder that says, “Bring a list of all your current medications with you”? How many of you actually bring a list of all your current medications?
The hospital group where all of my doctors are makes life incredibly easy with this because everything I’ve ever been prescribed by one of their doctors shows up on my chart and they go over what I’m still taking and what I need refilled. This goes for recommended supplements as well. My doctor told me to take vitamin D, even though he didn’t send a prescription to the pharmacy, it’s on my chart. But what about when I had my wisdom teeth out and my oral surgeon had me on a medication? If I didn’t say anything, they wouldn’t know and that could turn out badly.
Last year I started seeing a nephrologist (kidney specialist). I was tested, retested and tested yet one more time and the decision was made the prescribe an ultra-low-dose ACE inhibitor to protect my kidneys. Because my blood pressure is “beautiful” (that is a direct quote from one my my doctors) and can tip to the low side occasionally, being prescribed what is actually a blood pressure medication, I was concerned. So I called the office and had to leave a message.
Since I didn’t get an answer back quickly enough, I talked to my endocrinologist about it. She assured me that I shouldn’t expect to have an impact on my blood pressure and which symptoms I should keep an eye on to call about. When the nephrology resident called me back, the only thing she told me was that taking it would be fine and I should start right away. Sometimes, especially if a doctor hasn’t been seeing you long, they assume that you just blindly trust them… or worse that you should blindly trust them. Never hesitate to ask your healthcare team, including your pharmacist, the questions that you have.
Also, ask for what you need. I emailed my endo’s office asking for a prescription for back-up, long-acting insulin for vacation. I have her my current total basal, told her why I was asking and I asked specifically for Lantus pens. Because I’ve taken Lantus before and vastly prefer pens for injections. Her response, “Of course!” and they called it in.
I’m horrible at remembering things… as are most people! I have two medications that I have to take at the same time every day… not about the same time but within a small window of time for them to do what I need. Before my OmniPod, I also had to take my long-acting insulin at the same time every day.
The best, and only, way I’ve been able to stay on top of the same time every day schedule is a recurring alarm on my phone.
My final point about medication is in regards to traveling. My insulin needs to be kept cold when not being used. That means making sure I have access to a refrigerator in my hotel room or cruise ship cabin or another means of keeping things cold, such as a FRIO Insulin Cooling Wallet. I just recently got one but haven’t used it yet.
Part two of traveling is to keep your medication with you… as in pack it in the bag that will not leave your side. Never, never, never pack medication in your carry on (even if it’s extra medication). For cruising, that also means not to leave it in the bag that you hand over to the porters to take to you cabin. The only things you have absolute control over as the things you’re holding onto, so you’re less likely to lose your medications if they’re in your carry on. You’re also less likely to end up with a cracked vial.
Part three of traveling is to make sure you have your prescription label with you. Pill bottles make that easy, but if you take your medicine out of a box, tear the label off and keep it with you just in case. You never know if you’re going to be questioned about it (by authorities of course) and it has your dosage information that can help especially if you have an emergency.
Do you have any tips when it comes to medication?
How do you remember to take yours or get it refilled?
Any other tips on traveling with medication?
ARC is talking about Xarelto for October.
I feel really fortunate that I don’t have to take any meds each month. But, I think if I were taking them systematically it would be really important to keep good track of everything, especially when away from home.