Who's Responsible for My Medications Anyway?

My goal, as a pharmacist, pharmacy blogger, and Owner/President of AudibleRxTM is to educate and motivate patients to participate in their own pharmaceutical care.  So then, the question is, who's responsibility is it to make sure that patients refill their prescriptions on time and continue to be compliant with their therapy?

This, my friends, is an ongoing issue, one that regularly surfaces, and one that requires diligence on the part of the patient, caregiver, pharmacist and doctor. 

Some pharmacies offer an auto refill program.  This is a situation where the medication is filled automatically about 5 days before the refill is due.  Perhaps then, some sort of automated phone call is sent to the patients phone directing them that a prescription is ready to be picked up.  This does quite a bit to increase the number of prescriptions that a pharmacy is filling; however, quite often the prescriptions are reversed within 7 -10 days because they were not picked up. 

The problem here is that the patient may have spoken with the doctor and possibly changed the dose of the medication or changed to a completely different medication.  Another problem with this is if a care giver comes in to the pharmacy and picks up and pays for a prescription that the doctor had told the patent to stop taking.  The patient may end up receiving a medication that their doctor does not want them to take.

Another situation arises when patients slowly become unable to monitor and take care of their own prescriptions.  Over a course of a few months different family members, friends or other assorted care givers become involved.  Without one person taking charge and educating all of the others, it is likely that there will be doses and refills missed and possibly a prescription that has been discontinued may accidentally be picked up through an auto refill program.

So, when an individual is mentally able, they are the ones responsible for following their pharmacy regimen.   I encourage everyone and anyone who take prescription medications to create a list.  This list includes the name and directions of your medications, your pharmacy phone number, your doctor phone number and your medication allergies. 

Each and every time you go to your doctor or pharmacy, have them verify that they all have the same exact information.

Here is a simple two step process:
                1.  Today, create your list of medications, complete with dose and directions, pharmacy  phone number,  doctor phone number, and medication allergies.

                 2.  Have a discussion with a family member or friend who you trust to initially manage your medications for you when (not if) the situation arises that someone else needs to step in and take care of your medications.

This is a very simple exercise that may save your life!

Please comment about how you remember to take your medications at the right time every day and what you do to remember to refill your prescriptions on time.

You may also be interested in reading these prescription/pharmacy blogs:

                Prescription Labels
                My Pills Look Different
                What to do with Expired Medications
                Mail Order Pharmacy
                Prescriptions from Canada
                Safe Narcotic Storage at Home


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