Steve Leuck, PharmD
Steve Leuck, PharmD, has been practicing both hospital and community pharmacy for over 30 years. He founded AudibleRx, in 2011, which provides Consumer Medication Information in an easy-to-listen audible format. Increased health literacy means better outcomes.
The issue is, how many of us actually continue this resolution past the end of January, let alone all the way through July or even December? Unfortunately, we seem to set our sights on unsustainable goals that involve 1200 calorie per day diets or 5 day per week exercise routines. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of appropriate nutrition and exercise regimens; however, these need to be part of our sustainable daily routines, not a resolution we start on January 2.
This year, how about we make a commitment to take personal responsibility for our medication regimens? This isn’t something we need to have completed by January 1, because the process of managing our own medications can be a goal that we work on all through the year.
If we take the time to implement these 3 goal-oriented, specific items, then we will be well on our way to being completely pharmaceutically responsible.
2. Medication synchronization: I know we have all experienced this: we fill our prescription, and then 1 week later, we realize 1 of our other prescriptions needs to be refilled. Sometimes, we find that we are visiting our local community pharmacy 3 or 4 times per month. Many pharmacies now offer medication synchronization programs that align your prescriptions so you may pick them all up on the same day each month. At this visit, the pharmacist may schedule a short appointment with you to discuss your current medications and check-in with you to see how you are doing with your current regimen.
3. Be in charge: This is important and sometimes difficult to address. In my experience, it is quite often overlooked. Pick either a family member or caregiver and have a conversation about your medications. You are picking someone who will agree to handle your medications for you when you are no longer able to handle them yourself. This is a push to be an active participant in creating your plan, so that a plan is not created for you.
Understanding your medications, visiting your pharmacist once a month to pick them up, and creating a “take-charge” medication plan are sustainable resolutions that will carry you through the next year and beyond. If for some reason you need to be admitted to the hospital or visit the emergency room this next year, please don’t let it happen because you were mismanaging your medications.