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5 Simple Medication Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Did you know half of all Americans don’t take their meds correctly? It’s true. In the U.S. alone, taking meds wrong contributes to 125,000 preventable deaths each year.

Taking medications correctly helps to ensure they do the job they were prescribed to do. It also keeps you safe from drug interactions or other adverse events. But, if you’re like half of the U.S., you’re probably making mistakes.

Here are 5 of the most common ones:

1. You Skip a Dose of Preventative Meds

You know those medications you take because you’ve been told to, but they don’t make you feel any different? Well, just because you don’t feel better when you take them, or worse if you forget for a couple of days, doesn’t mean they’re not important.

In order for medications to be effective, they generally need to be taken correctly at least 80% of the time. Folks with asymptomatic conditions are almost two times less likely to fill their prescriptions as those with symptomatic diseases. A lot of chronic conditions — think diabetes, hypertension and glaucoma — don’t have symptoms you can necessarily feel. If you’re not taking medicines as they’ve been prescribed for these “asymptomatic” diseases, they can progress and lead to unnecessary hospitalizations.

2. You Forget a Dose Because Remembering Is Too Much Work

Let’s face it, our lives are busy. Between work, family life and personal hobbies, schedules can get complicated. Add managing a medication regimen to the mix, and it’s easy to forget a dose or two.

When there’s too much to manage, there’s a simple fix: let some technology take over and remember pill times for you. Hero, for example, is the complete medication management system with a smart device that holds up to a 90-day supply of up to 10 different pills. You can program even the most complex regimen into Hero’s mobile app, and it will tell your device to auto-sort and dispense on time and track when you take your meds or miss them. Caregivers can also manage schedules remotely and get alerts if a loved one misses a dose. Take more than 10 meds? Hero’s mobile app also allows you to track additional pills, injections, liquids or refrigerated medications stored outside the device.

At pill time, Hero reminds you to take your meds with a chime, visual cues and app notifications. And because Hero keeps track of your medication schedule and whether you’ve taken it, you’re never left wondering if you forgot a dose. You have better things to worry about.

3. You Have Prescriptions From Multiple Doctors

Okay, so this mistake doesn’t have the simplest solution. You can’t just say to your primary care physician, “I need you to also be my cardiologist and endocrinologist, okay?” Consolidating all your health needs to one doctor is virtually impossible. So remembering how well you’ve stuck to your prescribed meds during every doctor’s visit can be a massive undertaking. But there is an easy fix: let someone — or something — else keep track of it all.

Hero keeps detailed medication information and compiles adherence reports you can share with all of your doctors. For example, it knows if you took your 20mg dose of cholesterol meds at the same time every day for 6 weeks, missed two days then got back on track again. That’s not typically the kind of detailed info everyone remembers to tell their doctors, but it makes their jobs a lot easier!

While not keeping track of different meds for different doctors might be one of the most common mistakes people make across the board in non-adherence (the technical term for not sticking to meds recommended for you), using Hero as your solution makes this problem almost obsolete. Having all your medication information at your fingertips in the Hero app also makes filling out medical forms oh so much easier.

4. You Postpone Refills (Or Don’t Refill At All) 

Procrastination is practically in our DNA. We all put things off until the last minute. The problem is, a lot of prescriptions go unfilled after just the first bottle. While almost 70% of first prescriptions for medications are filled, refills drop by 40% after just six months. That means a lot of people just aren’t taking their meds as they should be.

We’ve all been there: you go to take your morning pills and realize there are only two left in the bottle. Then you realize you were supposed to go see your doctor for a checkup before your next refill. 

Luckily, there are a few easy workarounds to avoid running out of meds. First, ask your doctor to write you a prescription for a 90-day supply of medications, rather than a month’s supply. Studies have shown that if you only have to order refills every 90 days instead of every 30, you’re more likely to keep taking those meds.

Next, coordinate all your refill dates. People who refill all their medications on the same day have a 3% higher adherence rate. It might require talking with your pharmacist, but imagine knowing that on the 15th of every month, you pick up all your refills. You can put a reminder on your calendar, and then it just becomes routine.

5. You’re Hiding Your Medications From Yourself (Unintentionally, of Course!)

Have you ever stored medication in a forgettable place? Be honest. The first pollen of spring hits you, and now you’re hunting in every medicine cabinet, drawer and closet for your allergy meds? Yep, common mistake. Best to store everything together so you always know what you have on hand and can quickly find it.

How and where you store medications should depend on both your needs and preferences. If one medication needs to be kept cold, you should obviously keep it in the fridge. For everything else, you might store meds in their original pill bottles and packaging, organized in a drawer, your pantry or a hall closet. Ironically, the medicine cabinet should be the last place you store meds. Big swings in temperature or humidity can make some medications less effective, and it’s incredibly hard to control either in your bathroom. 

You could also store your meds in a pill box, monthly pill organizer or a smart pill dispenser like the one included in Hero’s service. With Hero, of course, you get an efficient storage solution with everything in one easy-to-remember place that just happens to do all the other chores of medication management for you. And with Hero’s all-important pill reminders, it’s hassle-free organization that also maintains your schedule. You could even call it a personal assistant for your meds.

Stop These Mistakes From Happening

We’re all human. Mistakes happen. But remember, you’ve got to take most medications correctly 80% of the time for them to work most effectively. And on average, half of all people don’t take medications as they’re prescribed. 

But Hero members? They have a 97% average adherence rate. And that is impressive by any measure. 

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The contents of the above article are for informational and educational purposes only. The article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified clinician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or its treatment and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of information published by us.