Working with a single pharmacy can help reduce risks associated with taking multiple prescriptions.

You have your white pill and your blue pill. There’s the one you take before breakfast, the one you take before bed and the one you have to take separately from your multivitamin. You have the orange capsules prescribed by your cardiologist, the little green pill from your primary care physician and the newest pill that was added after your recent urgent-care visit. You also have the pills that you take as needed. Remembering refills, all of which happen at different times of the month, also complicates things to the point some will go without their medication.

It is important to be aware of your medications and how to properly take them. People 65 and older account for approximately 12 percent of the population in the U.S., but consume more than one-third of dispensed medications. That is an average of four to five prescriptions per person every week. With many people taking multiple prescriptions, daily supplements and filling prescriptions at multiple pharmacies, it is not surprising that only about 25 percent of prescription medications are taken properly.

Many Americans end up in the emergency room by not taking their medications as prescribed. The reasons include forgetfulness, cost, not liking the side effects, believing the condition has improved or simply not wanting to take the medication anymore. When medications are not taken as prescribed by the physician, it is known as medication non-adherence, which can result in serious consequences.

The key step in taking your medications properly is to develop a trusting relationship with your health care providers. Being honest with your pharmacist and physicians about the reasons you stopped filling prescriptions, your ultimate care goals and any other medication concerns is a major step in improving your own health care quality. Remember to bring a list of all your medications and supplements to any doctor’s appointment. Pharmacists at Sam’s Club can be valuable resources for medication management and adherence. We strive to develop trusting relationships with our patients and to help make sure every patient understands the reasons they are taking each medication, as well as educate patients on their individual medication regimens.

Another key component of medication adherence is receiving your medications at a single pharmacy. Safety is significantly improved with the use of a single pharmacy because the pharmacist will have access to all of your medication lists. We are able to monitor for drug interactions, dose changes or duplicate therapies. Using a single pharmacy also allows the pharmacist to assist in adherence by reviewing your medication prole and monitoring when medications are picked up.

Medications adherence tips

  • Receive medications at a single pharmacy
  • Plan ahead for refills
  • Get support from family and friends
  • Educate yourself about the medications
  • Organize and track medications with a list
  • Use adherence aids (pill trays & boxes, cell phone alerts)
  • Make taking medications part of your daily routine