Take Your Medications

Your healthcare providers can prescribe your medications, but it's up to you to take them properly. You also need to communicate with your healthcare providers about your medications. They need your feedback to understand how you're responding to treatment and make any necessary adjustments.

Your medications are proven to help improve your quality and length of life. It's vital that you take your medications exactly as prescribed. Missing a dose, or taking too much, can cause serious problems. In fact, not taking your medications as instructed is one of the most common reasons people with heart failure need to be hospitalized.

Tips For Taking Your Medication Safely and Consistently

  • Make sure you know exactly how to take your medications. Always ask healthcare providers about the following:
    • When to take each medication
    • How much to take
    • If there are any special instructions, such as taking a pill with a meal or on an empty stomach
    • Any side effects you may encounter
  • Tell your healthcare providers about any other medications you're taking. They can help ensure there are no harmful interactions between drugs.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before you take over-the-counter medications or other supplements. People sometimes get into trouble when they add over-the-counter substances to their daily medication regimen. NEVER take any new substances without first consulting your healthcare providers. This includes pain relievers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) and dietary supplements (including herbal, vitamin, and mineral supplements).
  • Write down what to do if you accidentally skip a dose. Everyone makes mistakes - so be prepared and talk with your healthcare provider about what you should do if you miss a dose of your medication. Don't try to make up for a missed dose by taking 2 doses at once (unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to).
  • Don't skip a dose because you feel better. Most heart failure medications must be taken regularly to keep you healthy.
  • Develop a routine to take your medications. For example, you can take your medications right after brushing your teeth in the morning, or while watching the evening news.
  • Set an alarm clock to remind you when it's time to take your medications.
  • Organize your pills. Use a divided pillbox for different times of the day, or different days of the week. Some pillboxes even have a built-in alarm clock to remind you when to take your pills.
  • When you have 2 weeks of medications left, order more. Pharmacies sometimes have a delay in filling orders, and it's important to avoid running out of your prescription.
  • Carry a card. Keep a written list of all your medications and dosages in your wallet or purse. Keep a list of any medical allergies with this list.
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