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Heart Failure

Make Your Medication Work For You

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 09:52

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here's how to get the most out of your medication:

  • Medications for heart failure need to be taken every day, as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Remember to take all doses, even if you feel better. Don't be tempted to skip doses even if you feel "cured." If you stop taking your medications, the symptoms probably will return.
  • Contact your doctor if you are uncertain what to do when you miss a dose or take the wrong amount.
  • Keep a list of your daily medications with you in case of emergency.

Each time the doctor prescribes a new medication, make sure that you understand what it is for, and how to take it. You should know:

  • What each medicine does.
  • What time of day you should take it.
  • Whether you should take it before or after food.
  • If you miss a dose, is it okay to take it later in the day? How much later?
  • What side effects should you expect? Which side effects are serious, and which are not?
  • If you have a side effect, how soon should you tell the doctor? Should you stop taking the medication? If you can't reach your doctor, what should you do?

How-To Information:

Remembering to Take Your Medication

It is important to remember to take all of your medications, which may be difficult if you are taking several prescriptions. Try the following:

  • Buy a medication organizer from your pharmacy so you can sort out your pills for each day of the week.
  • Keep your medication near where you eat. That way, you will be reminded at mealtime.
  • Write reminders to yourself on stick-on notes. Place them around the house where you will notice them, i.e., on your shaving mirror, where you keep your toothbrush, or by the telephone.
  • Carry pills with you. If you need to take pills during your working day, keep some in your desk and/or your purse.
  • Renew prescriptions regularly. Plan ahead to go to the drugstore, especially if there are holidays coming up.
  • Make a note on your calendar. Don't trust your memory. It's easier to look on a calendar and see a reminder that it's time to refill your prescription, especially if you are a busy person.

Nice To Know:

If you are going to be traveling:

  • Keep on you a list of the medications you are taking.
  • Take your medical records and your EKG.
  • Split your medications - keep a few doses with you in case your bags get separated.

 

Heart Failure