What are some simple ways to remember to take my medication 3 times a day?
July 12, 2007 7:43 PM   Subscribe

What are some simple ways to remember to take my medication 3 times a day?

I'm taking glucosamine + chondroitin and I'm supposed to take a pill 3 times a day, and I assume I want to spread that out relatively evenly so once in the morning, once at night and once somewhere in the middle. I have the biggest problem with the middle one and also forget the night one sometimes.
Life keeps getting in the way and I am out of the house and I say I'll remember to take the 2nd pill when I get home and I forget, etc.
posted by dino terror to Health & Fitness (26 answers total)
Maybe set an alarm on your cell phone to go off during the middle of the day.
posted by rancidchickn at 7:47 PM on July 12, 2007

And can you take the pills with you, or a small set of the pills in a little container? That way they're always with you when it's time so you don't have to remember when you get home.
posted by bibbit at 7:51 PM on July 12, 2007

well, part of it is developing a routine. even if the middle of your day is hectic, you can try to always have a pill on you when you leave the house. you might divide them up into three bottles--one to keep near your morning things, one to keep near your wallet and keys, and one to keep on your bedstand at night.

seconding the cell phone alarm. it helps my mom stay on her medication schedule.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:51 PM on July 12, 2007

This is so obvious that I hesitate to suggest it, but why don't you just train yourself to take them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Once you tell your mind to equate eating with pill-taking it will just be part of your meal ritual, like getting a drink.
posted by iconomy at 7:52 PM on July 12, 2007

Put the main pill bottle with your toothbrush; assuming you brush your teeth twice a day, that takes care of the first and the third one.

For the second one, carry a pillbox and set an alarm for the middle of the day.
posted by scody at 7:56 PM on July 12, 2007

I set out 3 pills in the morning and put them in my pocket at the same time as my wallet, phone, and keys. This helps because I'll usually feel the bulk of the pill[s] in my pocket at some point and then I can count them to see if I've taken one for the appropriate time of day yet.
posted by 0xFCAF at 7:57 PM on July 12, 2007

I take one pill every morning and just make it part of my morning getting-out-of-bed ritual. If I leave the house without taking it, I can "feel" something is wrong. If I had to take three, it'd be one with lunch and one when I arrive home in the evening.

Otherwise, yeah, set cellphone reminders. Or you can use something like Google calendar and set recurring events and have an SMS message sent to you when you need to take it.
posted by vacapinta at 8:01 PM on July 12, 2007

You can use pill boxes and alarms and all that jazz to help, but what it really comes down to is developing a good routine. (Maybe one at each meal, for example, and always take it right before your first bite. That gives you three times a day spread apart.) If you put in sufficient effort to developing the habit, within a week you'll be taking it consistently with (practically) no chance of missing a dose.

In my case, I have to take one pill at night, so I don't allow myself to climb into bed until I've taken it. I keep the bottle right near the bed, so even if I forget, I'll be reminded as I'm walking over to my bed.
posted by fogster at 8:08 PM on July 12, 2007

Well, I was hoping I wouldnt have to carry a pill with me but I guess I should just do it. I think James Bond had a little pill dispenser for one pill in his watch in his last movie. I suppose I could be the envy of... some people.
posted by dino terror at 8:09 PM on July 12, 2007

I know nothing about them, but these guys sell pill boxes with electronic alarms built in.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:09 PM on July 12, 2007

Leave a post-it note that tells you to take the pill when you get home, and leave one in the bathroom so you take the last pill before you go to bed. It isn't the best division, but it is better than missing the pills.
posted by Loto at 8:17 PM on July 12, 2007

Brushing teeth, lunch, brushing teeth.
posted by tristeza at 8:23 PM on July 12, 2007

oooh, also, they sell little tiny pill bottles you attach to your keychain, then you CAN'T forget to bring them!
posted by tristeza at 8:25 PM on July 12, 2007

2nding vacapinta's suggestion of using Google calendar with SMS reminders.

Also, keep a bottle at home, and one in the car, so you don't forget to take them with you.
posted by desjardins at 8:59 PM on July 12, 2007

Do you regularly eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? If so, then those times (unless you can't take them on either an empty or newly full stomach - delete as appropriate!).
posted by wackybrit at 10:04 PM on July 12, 2007

Are you regularly around a particular person (or different people, i.e. SO in the morning and evening, and a coworker in the middle of the day)? My SO takes her pill at 10pm every night and the easiest way for her (=us) to remember is for me to set my cell phone alarm. If I'm not around (I usually am), I'll call her.

Somehow this is easier to remember (and more foolproof) than just having her set an alarm.
posted by rossination at 11:17 PM on July 12, 2007

I only take my pills once a day but I have major problems remembering them. Here's how I sorted it...

I found out that my pills (Zoton) come in a strawberry flavour orodisperse form, and that my glucosamine comes in cherry liquid flavour. Now, add to that that I HATE the taste of mint, I never leave the house without killing the taste of toothpaste with some fruit flavoured "sweets"...
posted by twine42 at 12:21 AM on July 13, 2007

Seconding Scody. I had to take one three times a day a while ago, and I've got a brain like a seive. BUT, I know I need coffee first thing, eat lunch at noon and want a cup of tea when I get home. So I divided the pills into three bottles and put one next to the coffee jar, one in my lunch box, and one next to the teabags. If you're not as routine as this, well, seconding the alarm idea!
posted by dowcrag at 1:30 AM on July 13, 2007

I've used Backpack to email reminders or text them to my phone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:14 AM on July 13, 2007

the keyfob works beautifully for me during the day. i take far more pills than three, in a complex matrix of times, and have found that the constant presence of the little buggers on my keyring has made me remember them at the most inopportune [but perfect] times... basically, anytime you use your keys, there's a reminder.
the suggestions so far have been good on notes, etc, but those fade away. find a particular activity [or start one] that can be repeated at the same time every day, and associate it with taking your pill. [teeth-brushing is brilliant for morning/night]
posted by rubberfish at 5:33 AM on July 13, 2007

sorry, keyfob.
posted by rubberfish at 5:35 AM on July 13, 2007

I only take medication once/day, in the morning. My problem was that I could never remember whether or not I'd taken it for the day. I agree with everyone else that having a routine is essential.

What I do is set my pills on the bathroom counter each night as I'm getting ready for bed. The next day I know whether I've taken them yet by checking if they're still on the counter.

You may not have the memory issues I sometimes do. For some reason, though, that routine of getting them out at night works for me, and then the next day I never have to wonder "did I take my medication? Did I take it twice?"

If I had to take it 3x/day, I would do something similar - I'd get the right number of pills out the night before, and then put them in a little container of some kind and carry it around. Like everyone else has suggested, I'd use a cellphone alarm to remind me (otherwise I'd probably forget to take them half the time). Eventually, you'll probably make this so much a part of your routine that you might not need the alarm.
posted by splendid animal at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2007

I need to use my atrovent inhaler 4 x a day to keep my asthma controlled. I couldn't possibly do it without a reminder chime from my pda. If I didn't have the pda, I'd look for a cell phone or text message based reminder system.
posted by happyturtle at 2:27 PM on July 13, 2007

Another option for the keychain is this one. I use it for a daily aspirin and stash some allergy pills in it as well.

It's cheaper (under $5 at REI) than the pill-specific ones, but it did coat my pills with a red dust which hopefully doesn't contain a lot of aluminum...
posted by altcountryman at 8:49 PM on July 13, 2007

Oh, yeah, and I nth using the cell phone's alarm clock or text reminders. Backpack is good, or you could set Google calendar to text you too.

If you don't carry your cell all the time, there are watches that have multiple alarms as well.
posted by altcountryman at 8:52 PM on July 13, 2007

If you have an audible alarm going off in the middle of the day in front of your co-workers, eventually someone may start to speculate on what you are taking pills for, which could easily turn into a rumor. If you do use something audible, I'd be sure to leave a big bottle with a drugstore label on your desk as bait for the curious.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:03 PM on July 13, 2007

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