9 Ways to Manage Your Schizophrenia Medication
When you take different medications, especially if you do so at different times of the day, keeping them organized can be difficult and being disorganized can easily cause you to skip a dose or double up by mistake. The following are ways to manage your medications for schizophrenia.
Understand the requirements of each medication
Plan when to take the medication based on the requirements of each, for example, ziprasidone (Geodon) should be taken with food, therefore plan to take it with a meal. Risperidone (Risperdal) should not be taken with cola or tea but can be taken with coffee, orange juice, or water. Talk with your pharmacist about any requirements for the medications you are taking.
Change dose times as warranted
If you experience a side effect, a change in dose time can sometimes stop the side effect completely. For instance, instead of taking the pills in the morning and risking being drowsy all day, try switching to taking them at night. Talk to your doctor before making any changes in your schedule to make sure it won’t interfere with other medications you may be taking.
Monitor medication side effects
Keep track of when you take your medication and any side effects you experience. Share this with your doctor so together you can determine if any changes need to be made. For example, most of the atypicals, that is, the current generation of drugs used to treat schizophrenia, cause weight gain that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. You may need to have your sugar levels and blood work monitored while on this medication.
Switch the type of drug if necessary
If side effects interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor about other options. There are different types of medications used to treat schizophrenia and if one doesn’t work well for you, another one might.
Keep track of when you've taken the medication
If you take medication at multiple times per day, it can be difficult to remember what you took and when you took it. Look for daily pill holders that will fit your situation. For example, there are pill boxes for single, twice a day, or three times per day. Find a system that works for you. A word of caution: If you have children, pill cases are not childproof.
Set pill reminders
Use apps to remind you to take your medication. Medisafe Medication Reminder is a free app for both iPhone and Android and not only reminds you when it is time to take your medication, it reminds you when it is time for a refill.
Store medications properly
The bathroom medicine cabinet has traditionally been where medications are stored; however, it isn’t the best place to keep them. The heat and moisture can damage your medication. Instead, store them in cool, dry place such as in a dresser drawer.
Make a master list of all your medications
Make a list of all the medications you take. Include the name, dosage, frequency and side effects. Include any allergies you may have to other medications. Give a copy to each of your doctors and take a picture of the list to keep in your phone.
Remember the benefits
Taking medication outweighs the risk of relapsing for most people. Only a minority of people can recover without taking maintenance medication. While you may not want to take medication, remind yourself of the benefits daily.