Making Sense of Meds

Making Sense of Meds

5 Tips to Help Manage Your Medicines

  1. Once-a-day medicines can usually be taken anytime. The important thing is to take them at about the same time every day. Some medicines work better when taken in the morning or at night. Ask your healthcare provider what time of day is best for the medicines you are taking.
  2.  Take your medicines at mealtimes whenever possible. 
It’s usually easier to remember. And stick with a regular meal/medicine schedule as much as possible. If your schedule happens to change, ask your healthcare provider about the best way to deal with it.
  3. If the label says to take after meals or on a full stomach, take them when you finish eating.
  4. Bedtime can mean different things on different days. Choose a time and remember to take your medicines at that time, regardless of when you go to bed.
  5. If the label doesn’t say anything about food, you don’t need to be concerned about when you take your medicines—though it is often easier to remember if you take them at mealtimes.

Many people do not fully understand what the instructions on their medicine bottles meant. They often take medicines more times per day than needed. Most people find that the more often they have to remember to take their medicines, the easier it is to forget. So what can you do?

Ask your COSTCO pharmacist the following questions:

  • Is there a particular time of the day it is best to take this medicine?
  • Do I need to avoid certain foods or drinks with this medicine?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol with this medicine?
  • What are the side effects?
  • How do I store this medicine?

Also, ask your pharmacist to help you make a plan or a calendar that will fit in to your day and help you get the most from your medicine.

What does the label on my pill bottle mean?

If The Label Says:

It Means:

Take on an empty stomach
Take at least two hours after eating or one hour before you start eating

Take before meals
Take right before you start eating

Take with food and liquid
Take during or after your meal

Take with meals or at mealtime
Take during or after your meal

Take every 12 hours
Take twice daily, 12 hours apart 
(for example: 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

Take every eight hours
Take three times a day, 8 hours apart (for example: 7 a.m., 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.)

By Martha Funnell MS, RN, CDE

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