If you are on dialysis, chances are you’re also taking a number of different medications. Each medication has a special purpose and is meant to help you. However, if you take too much, take it at the wrong time of day or combine medications that shouldn’t be taken together, you may end up harming yourself.
The more you understand about your condition and your medications, the better you will be able to handle your treatment and the more likely you will be to stay healthy longer.
Tips for better medication management
It’s important to take your medications every day. To help make it safe and easy, be sure you:
• Understand your medications
• Keep your medications organized
• Stick with your treatment plan
Listen and learn about your medications
To better understand your condition, talk directly with your healthcare team—your doctors, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists and any other healthcare professionals who prescribe your medication or participate in your care. Also do the following.
• Make a list of all current medications, including over the counter, vitamins, herbal and dietary supplements and bring them to the clinic for review.
• Give the list of medications to your healthcare team.
• Record the medication strength and when you take the medication.
• Use a pharmacy that specializes in kidney care.
• Get answers to your questions about each prescription medication before you start taking it.
• Learn the name of each medication.
• Understand the purpose of each medication.
• Know which medications can or cannot be taken together.
Since you have to take many different medications, it is important that you keep your medications organized. Here are a few tips:
• Take medications at the same time each day unless directed otherwise.
• Link taking your medications to another daily event (i.e., meal or bedtime).
• Organize your medications.
• Use a plastic medication organizer or medication log.
• If you use a computer, create an electronic medication organizer or spreadsheet.
Stick with the plan
Once you have a medication treatment plan in place, stick with it. This can be challenging as some medications can have side effects. You may even start to feel better and want to stop taking your medication altogether. Here are ways to help support your health:
• Take all of the medication you were prescribed.
• Tell your doctor if you’re having side effects.
• Check with your doctor first before you stop taking your medication.
• Ask your doctor if your prescription needs to be refilled.
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