March 6, 2014

How to safely keep track of the meds you are taking

More tips for prescription safety~

When you need pain medicine it is important to remember exactly when you take it.  This can easily be done by writing down the times on a piece of paper if you are only using it for a short time.  However, a chronic pain patient will need something a little more structured to keep up with their pain meds as well as any other meds that they take.  **This advice really applies to anyone that must take several different medications and/or supplements on a regular basis. It is also very useful for keeping track of anything that should be taken more than once a day or even as needed. I tried to simplify this information, but also wanted it to be as complete as possible.

I have come up with a system for myself that works very well.  The first thing I did was get a free app for my iPhone that has daily reminders.  The one I prefer is called "RxmindMe."  I checked and this one is also available for Android users.  It allows me to enter all of my prescriptions, vitamins, eye drops, and anything else I take and set up when I need to take them.  The reminders can  be set for hourly, weekly, monthly, and as needed among other choices.   I see that they have also added a birth control reminder as well.  I use the hourly option for my pain meds.  I have one I take once every twelve hours and another one that can only be taken once every six hours up to four times a day.  A little tone will sound when it is time to take something. I can then check it as taken which will notate the time and date or mark it as skipped if I'm not taking it. I can see at the end of the day what I took and what I didn't.  I'm really bad about using my eye drops twice a day.  At the end of the day I can make sure that I at least use them once a day!  (Please don't tell my eye doc!)

The next part of my system is actually organizing all of the pills. I use two seven day pill boxes, a pill box separated for morning, noon, and night, and yet another single pill box.  In the first seven day pill box I put an entire week's worth of  pain medicine. I start off by putting two of my extended release pills in each daily slot. Since my breakthrough medication can be taken once every six hours and up to four times a day I put four of those in each slot as well.  A lot of pain meds in the U.S. contain Acetaminophen (Tylenol).  More than 4000 mg  per day can cause damage to your liver.  Taking more than 7000 mg can lead to an overdose, liver failure or even death. Remember that many over the counter medications contain Acetaminophen as well.  Having my daily limit separated can keep me from accidentally going over that amount. It is also nice to have days that I don't use all of my allotted pain pills.  I enjoy putting those back in the bottle.  I consider those days a triumph over pain!  This unfortunately doesn't happen as often as I would like it to.

The next seven day pill container I use to hold all of my other pills.  I have a lot of other prescriptions that I need to take daily as well.  For example, I have three pills that I need to take just for high blood pressure. Another benefit of doing this is that it helps me see when I need to call in my refills. I have most of my prescriptions on auto fill with the pharmacy these days, but if I have one with no refills left I need to know that I'm almost out and get it ordered in plenty of time.  There are also prescriptions that I use that cannot be refilled.  I need to make sure that I contact my doctor to obtain a new prescription before I get too low on those as well.  F.Y.I. my pain medicine is prescribed by my pain specialist and I physically go to his office each and every month to follow up with him.  I only have enough medicine to last from one appointment to the next. 

Every night before bed I fill the morning, noon, and night pill holder along with the single pill box . The single pill box that I use is actually part of a seven day system made so that one day's worth of pills can be removed to take along with you.  I'm thinking about buying a different pill box at some point for this purpose. I would like one that is prettier to start my day with!  Anyways, I have medicine that I need to take before I get out of bed each morning.  I know that what is in that pill box is what I need to take even if I can barely manage to open one eye!  I have a picture below that shows my different pill containers to help make sense of all of this!  Well, I hope it helps!  ;-)

If you get into the habit of organizing your medications like this or in a similar manner you will not have any trouble remembering what to take and when to take it.  I also recommend that you keep all of your medicine bottles in a zip lock bag and put it in the same place every time. You can easily grab it in an emergency or tell someone where it is if you are unable to get it yourself.  Anything that I use on an as needed basis I keep in a separate container in my bedside table so that I don't have to hunt for it.  I make sure to keep all of these out of reach of my children. I also put everything in my bedroom and out of site of visitors.   Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or in the medical field in any way.  These are just suggestions based on what I do to help me with my medications.

On top I have medicine ready to sort. Below that are my seven day containers in different colors
to easily tell which is which.  The blue container is used to separate morning, noon, and night doses. The single pill box is what I use for my "too early to think" medicine before I even get out of bed each day   Having a system that you stick to makes it easy to keep up with.  Taking too much of any prescription or vitamin can be deadly!  Missing an important dose of medicine can also be deadly!  I hope that my advice can help keep that from happening.


  1. Great advice on your system! I'm definitely going to need to set something up like this when I'm back on pain management.

  2. P.S. I'm so glad you took the time to comment on my blog, giving me the chance to discover yours! As someone who suffers from intense chronic pain and loves NYC make-up, I'm lovin' your blog! :)

  3. Thank you so much! I'm so glad you found this helpful. I did end up getting a pretty pill box to replace the green and white one. It has a light that turns on when it is opened. Perfect for that first morning dose before the sun is up! Thanks again for the sweet comments! They mean so much to me!