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Tips for taking your meds daily

by | Oct 6, 2020 | PrEP 101

Is that an echo? Yuuupppp, it’s the 50th time someone’s telling you to take your PrEP meds every day exactly as directed.

Easy for them to say — sometimes hard for you to do.

You wake up late for work and before you know it, you’ve forgotten to take your meds. UGH. Some days you just wake up and stumble into whatever the day throws at you. And before you know it, you’ve forgotten your meds…. again. Oops.

Rinse, recycle, repeat. Amirite?!

It’s called life — and it makes it hard to remember to take your medications.

So, how do people get a handle on taking meds every day other than an app reminder? (which, let’s be real here, you probably just turn off anyways).

Lots of people use a simple seven-day pillbox — usually a plastic container that has seven compartments. The lid on the top of each compartment has the day of the week printed on it. This helps you make sure you take the exact quantity of each pill on the day when you’re supposed to take it.

I remember Rodrigo*, for instance, an emerging adult with thick eyebrows and sharp, curious eyes. Rodrigo was a dream to teach but nightmare to care for, due mostly to his influences and life experiences. He was sitting in Room 12, I believe, in MetroHealth’s ID Clinic. My colleague and friend, Kat, came to me and asked, “My patient in 12 has a lot of questions, and this seems more in your wheelhouse. Would you mind chatting with him for a bit?” Kat is much too polite. I am always ready to answer questions about sex and sexual health. “Just don’t get too personal, now,” Kat urged, as she waved an “uncle-ish” finger.

The pillbox and how it can work for you

First, pick a day of the week that you can do this on every single week. That will be your designated pill-planning day.

So, let’s say you have to take PrEP and two other medications every day. You count out seven of each pill from its prescription bottle and put one in each of the daily compartments.

On Sunday you take Sunday’s pills from the pillbox, the next day you take Monday’s, and so on through the end of the week.

This works for anybody who takes a lot of pills. People with heart trouble, high blood pressure, and all sorts of conditions take three or four pills a day. The pillboxes give them a plan and structure for staying on their meds. Make sense? Pretty easy once you get into the habit!

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I have to take a pill multiple times a day – how can I remember?

Okay, so this might seem hard to manage, but luckily some pillboxes have three or sometimes four compartments for each day of the week. Pretty cool, huh?

If that isn’t something you like, you could also buy several seven-day pillboxes for each time of the day to take your meds. The fun part is that they come in multiple colors so you can get a purple pillbox for the morning and a green one for the evening! 

Some pharmacies even offer fancier ones, like pill pouches for your purse or pocket, or a pie-shaped pillbox. Basically, you got lots of options, which is pretty cool.

Set a reminder on your phone to take those meds!

Alright, now that you have your pillboxes, it’s time to make sure you are taking your meds at the same time every day. One of the easiest ways to do that is to set a reoccurring reminder on your smartphone. 

Have your pillbox handy so when your alarm goes off, you remember instantly to take your meds. The best part of the pillbox or pouch is that they are small and compact, so you can take them with you if necessary.

 It’s okay if you don’t take your pills at the same time every day, but just don’t make that habit. Overall you want to stay consistent with when you take your meds, as your prescription and doctor recommends for your meds to be the most effective. But if you are off by a couple of hours one or two days, that’s OK.

Just make sure no matter what that you’re taking your meds! Don’t skip out if you miss the time slot to take them that day!

Get an accountability buddy

Easiest way to take pills? Have someone constantly on your ass reminding you to take your pills until it becomes a habit! Someone like your best friend or partner who you know always will text you and check in on you. It might become annoying, but that’s the point, right?

Whatever you do, take your meds!

We know taking PrEP and other daily meds can get annoying, but your health is most important, and your meds are here to help you live your life!

Have more PrEP questions?

This sweet, intelligent blogger is open to chat. Give him a call at (216-714-2223) or fill out the form next to this blog.

Ask for help connecting to a doctor for PrEP.

Deemyi Scott, University Hospitals
Call 216.286.7737
AKeem Rollins, MetroHealth
Call or Text 216.714.2223