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Medication and Your Health

By Abbey Droessler at Southwest Health

Taking your medications as prescribed by your primary care doctor and specialists is the best way for you to manage chronic conditions, ongoing pain and, get back to maintaining your current quality of life. By taking your medications as recommended, you are in control of your health. However when life gets busy, and your mind is just a running to-do list, it can be easy to forget to take one of your pills. And forgetting one pill can quickly become forgetting all your medications for the week. But what’s the big deal?

Missing, skipping, or not refilling your prescription can have more adverse effects than you may think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that not taking medications as prescribed causes 30% to 50% of all chronic disease treatment failures per year in the United States. But don’t fear! Taking medications as prescribed is possible, and we are sharing easy tips to make staying up to date with your medications a breeze below. Check out our tips, and you may leave with a better understanding of the impact the pharmacy and the team working within can have on your health.

Taking your prescribed medications is the first step in managing symptoms and getting back to feeling better. So, where do you start? After getting a new prescription from your doctor, head to your local pharmacy, like the Pharmacy at Southwest Health, to fill the order. If you want to change your pharmacy to an option that is more convenient for you, it’s a super easy process.  Just give the pharmacy you want to change to your prescriptions. We will take care of the rest.  While you are there, make sure to ask the pharmacist any questions that may be lingering in your mind before accepting the medication. Here are a few that may help to spark any other ideas you may have:

  1. Is there a best time of day to take this medication?
  2. Should I be taking this medication with food?
  3. Are there any special instructions for taking this medicine?
  4. Are there any known side effects I should know while taking this medication?
  5. Is there any way I can get this at a lower cost?

Your pharmacist will be able to answer all of your questions and can help ease any potential anxiety you may have about taking a new medication. This is also a great way to build a relationship with your pharmacist. Having a good rapport with this team is an excellent opportunity for them to see where there may be gaps in your care or services that may benefit you.

The next step is to start taking the medication. While this may seem simple to some, it’s harder for others considering some of the diseases and conditions the medicines are treating make it very difficult to want to or even remember to take medications at the correct time. There are three aspects of taking your medications regularly that you will want to monitor and have a conversation with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.

  1. If you think your medications are NOT working, it’s important to discuss these feelings with your care provider before you make any changes to the frequency in which you take the medication. Some medications can take longer than others to have an effect, and you don’t want to stop any progress before it starts.
  2. Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have any side effects. These can be uncomfortable, annoying, or even potentially life-threatening with some medications. Your care team will want to know how you are feeling before making any changes or refills.
  3. It is essential that you do not change your dose, stop taking medications, or start any new medications without first discussing them with your doctor or pharmacist beforehand. Medicines don’t work the same as prescribed if taken in a lower quantity or at a lower frequency.

Do you feel like you are taking too many medications or that you are constantly driving to the pharmacy to pick up a refill?  Well, you don’t need to approach the pharmacy as you always have.  There are new, convenient ways of getting your medicine.  Southwest Health’s pharmacy has a few simple solutions to make ordering, picking up, and staying current with all medicines easier. Here are just a few great benefits for everyone to take advantage of:

Online Refills. You can order your groceries and dog food online. Why not your medications? Please take advantage of Southwest Health’s free online prescription refill service when you’re in a hurry, can’t get to the pharmacy, or just want to streamline your to-do list.

Free Delivery. Many pharmacies will deliver medications to your home, and Southwest Health delivers medications to the Belmont, Cuba City, and Platteville area for free! This service removes any barriers for you and helps keep you current on refilling prescriptions. 

Free Medicare Consultations. Meet with your pharmacist and ask about what medications are covered.  This service and Medicare-covered medications are incredibly likely to save you money on your prescriptions. After all, Southwest Health’s pharmacy is not here to sell; we’re here to help.

MedSync. You can get all your regular meds with one-stop, one time every month. And we take care of any insurance or refill problems before you run out of medication.

Bubble Packs. Anyone who takes multiple medications a day has been through the tedious task of sorting individual pills into pillboxes or struggling to open countless medication bottles.  You probably even know how exhausting it can be to constantly have to run to the pharmacy to pick up refills because everything seems to run out at different times each month.  Fortunately, there’s a better way of taking your medication.  Bubble packs are a convenient blister package that allows you to have a whole month’s worth of medication in one convenient and clearly labeled container.  These packs arrange your pills by date and time of day, in up to four doses per day if needed.  They come in easy-to-open packets that assure you will never miss a dose or mix up a prescription again.

Remember, you’re not in this alone.  You have a whole care team of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists that just want you to feel better.  So, if you do forget to take a prescription or can no longer afford a particular medication, there is no shame.  You are not in trouble.  The best way to get back on track is to lean on your support system, and when it comes to medications, that’s your pharmacist.  Give them a call and see what needs to be done to get you back to where you need to be.

The number one reason for prescriptions not working is because they are not taken properly.  We understand that it’s hard to remember exactly how and when to take each pill, especially when you have many.  The services listed above are a convenient and modern way of getting the medicine you need and can drastically reduce the chance of user errors.

If you’re ready to upgrade the old-school way of bulky bottles and going to the pharmacy once a month for just one medication, say hello to a new, convenient way to take your medicine! Give the Pharmacy at Southwest Health a call at (608) 342-6200 and ask how you can upgrade your current medications to utilize Bubble Packs, free delivery, or refill your prescription online today at southwesthealth.org/onlinerefills!   The pharmacy staff at Southwest Health is available and eager to answer all of your medication-related questions. And, we’re here to help you get the most out of your medications, too.  Remember, taking medications as prescribed is a significant part of managing your conditions.

 

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