Rx FAQ: What should I do if I forget to take my medication?
Despite our best intentions, it’s common to forget to take a medication dose — especially if it’s a new medication, if you take the medication multiple times a day, or if you take more than one daily medication.
A recent study sponsored by Express Scripts® Pharmacy showed that 59% of patients taking maintenance medications have forgotten to take a dose.1
So what should you do if it slips your mind? Should you take it as soon as you remember? Should you wait until the next dose? Should you double up on your medication? Here is what our pharmacists recommend.
The dangers of not taking your medication as prescribed
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that medication nonadherence (not taking medication as prescribed) causes 30% to 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year.2 On the other hand, patients who take their medication as prescribed are less likely to end up in the hospital or emergency room.
Generally speaking, the more doses you miss, the higher the likelihood of a therapy failing and a disease progressing.
For example, missing a preventive dose of an asthma inhaler can cause irritation in your airways. Forgetting to take a dose of an antidepressant can have a negative effect on your mood. Missing a dose of blood pressure medication could raise your risk for a heart attack. You may experience a seizure if you forget a dose of anti-seizure medication.
What our pharmacists recommend if you miss a dose
If you forget to take your medication, you can log in to your account at express-scripts.com/rx and select the medication name to find answers to frequently asked questions, including what to do if you miss a dose. Alternatively, you can check the patient information that was provided with your medication. It usually contains specific directions for what to do if you miss a dose.
If you’re still unsure, we recommend contacting your doctor or pharmacist. They can advise you on next steps. Not sure if you missed a dose? They can help with that too.
If your health benefits include Express Scripts® Pharmacy, you have access to specially trained pharmacists 24/7 who can answer these questions and more.
Tips for remembering to take your medication
If you keep forgetting to take your medication, here are some simple tips that can help:
- Buy a pill organizer. Using a weekly pill organizer can serve as a visual reminder that you took your medication.
- Purchase a timer cap. This is a timer or alarm for the top of your prescription bottle that goes off when it’s time for you to take your next dose of medication.
- Pair your medication with a daily habit. This could be something like taking your medication after you brush your teeth or before you get dressed.
- Set a reminder. Setting a reminder on your phone or calendar can help you remember to take your medication at the same time each day without you having to think about it. If your benefits include Express Scripts® Pharmacy, you can take advantage of the dose reminder feature through the Express Scripts® Pharmacy app.
Remember, you’re not alone when it comes to staying on track with your medication. Learn more about how Express Scripts® Pharmacy can support you.
1 September 2023 Suzy research among 915 consumers.
2 U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Why You Need to Take Your Medications as Prescribed or Instructed (accessed August 23, 2023): https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/why-you-need-take-your-medications-prescribed-or-instructed.
Posted date: November 17, 2023