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Top 10 Medication Adherence Tips


Updated June 15, 2007

The advent of HAART therapy has given people infected with HIV a new lease on life. But along with these benefits there are some problems. The biggest obstacle to successful treatment is adherence to your regimen. Here are 10 tips that will help.

1. Integrate the regimen into your daily life.

Fit the meds into your life instead of structuring your life around your meds.

2. Count out your doses in advance.

Use a pill box to prepare your meds a week or even two weeks in advance. Note, some medications need refrigerated. If that is the case, keep the pill boxes in the refrigerator or a cool place.

3. Keep a checklist.

Make a daily checklist of the pills you have to take and the times you should take them. Check off each dose after it is taken. This will help to avoid missed or double doses.

4. Use a beeping alarm.

Use a beeping watch or timer to remind you when a dose is due. many HIV practices can supply such alarms or can help you find one that is affordable and sometimes free of charge.

5. Put dosage times into your daily planner.

Just like an appointment, add your medication doses into your daily planner to remind you when a dose is due.

6. Plan ahead for traveling, refills and weekends.

Pack your meds and keep them with you when traveling. Keep in mind that your schedule may change while on vacation and you will need to adjust how you take your meds. Also, plan ahead for your refills. Don't wait until you are out to call your pharmacy to order a refill. Give the pharmacy a minimum of three days to get your refills ready.

7. Arrange for privacy.

If you want to hide the fact you take meds, arrange for some private time at work when you can take your meds. Scout out a place such as a bathroom where you can take your meds in private.

8. Keep a diary.

Write down successes as well as failures to remind you what has worked and what has not. Record missed doses to identify times or doses that need to be worked on to improve adherence.

9. Establish and use a support network

Find friends or family that can assist you in taking your meds. Local "buddy lines" can help with reminders and serve as a partner in therapy. Realizing others are struggling as you are can help with feelings of isolation. Develop a working relationship with your healthcare team.

10. Leave yourself notes and reminders.

Leave notes around the house where you will be sure to see them; the refrigerator, next to the TV, and the bathroom mirror.
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