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Taking medication

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Always talk to your GP about any issues you have with taking medication, and about ways of helping you to remember when to take it.

If your doctor has prescribed you a medication, it's because they think it will help you. It's important to take your medication and follow the instructions given to you by your doctor, or on the label on the packet.

If you have any questions about the medicines you have been prescribed, you can speak to the pharmacist at your local chemist. They will be able to explain what your medicines are for and how to take them. They can also advise you on any over-the-counter medicines you might buy at the chemist, and give you advice on treating minor illnesses or injuries. If they aren't able to help or think you need more medical advice, they will recommend that you speak to a doctor.

Your GP (family doctor) will also be able to help with questions about medication. You may feel that you no longer need your medication but you shouldn't stop taking it without speaking to your doctor first, unless you are experiencing serious side-effects.

Normally you will have to pick up your prescription slip from the doctor and take it to the chemist to collect your medication.

However, if you have medicines that you regularly take (a repeat prescription), your doctor and chemist may have a repeat prescription service. This means that your medicines will automatically be ordered for you and will be ready to pick up at the chemist when you need them. Check with your GP or chemist if they offer this service.

Many pharmacies also deliver repeat prescriptions to your home if you have difficulty getting out of the house.

The Boots Online Prescription Service allows you to automatically contact your doctor to renew your repeat prescriptions for you. All you then have to do is to go down to your local Boots and pick it up, or they can deliver it to you. Many independent pharmacies also have the same service available.

Finding your local pharmacy

The NHS website has a directory of pharmacies you can search to find your local one.

Some people forget to take prescribed medication, or take it in the wrong way, which can put their health at risk.

Keeping a diary

One way to help you to remember is to keep a diary or planner and tick off each dose as you take it.

Help from your local chemist

Your local chemist can give you your medication in 'dosset boxes' or 'blister packs' marked with the days and times of the week at which you should take your medication; ask your chemist or your GP if you think that this might help you.

Equipment to help with medication

The following are just some of the many companies who provide gadgets, equipment or other services which will help you to take your medication when you need to:-

OKEachDay provide a telephone check and prompting service which can include reminders to take medication

PivoTell provide equipment which will remind you when you need to take medication

The Disability Living Foundation provide lots of suggestions for gadgets and equipment which can help you in taking medication on the their Living Made Easy website. They also provide a wealth of information on other equipment and aids which can help you to live independently and safely at home

My Medication Passport

The Medication Passport is a written record of a patient's medications. It is designed to improve communication between patients, carers and healthcare professionals, and record changes to a patient's medication. The passport contains:

  • Relevant information about the patient and their GP
  • List of medications the patient takes
  • List of any changes to the medications the patient takes
  • A list of medications that patient cannot take, and the risks

For more information about how to obtain a Medications Passport, click here

Apps on your phone

If you own an IPhone or another smart phone you will be able to download various apps which are designed especially to remind people to take medication at the right time - go to the App Store on your phone and search for 'medication'.

Help from a district nurse

If you need help to take prescribed medicines, and you are unable to leave your home and get about, your local district nursing team can help you.

District nurses can visit you at home to help you with medication, including medication that needs to be taken via an injection. They can also help you with dressings on any wounds or sores, with catheter care, and with looking after chronic conditions.

Your GP will be able to refer you to the district nursing team if you need this sort of help. You can also contact your nearest district nursing team directly - ask your GP surgery for details.

Help from your local council

If you are receiving daily home care visits, then your care workers will remind you to take the right medication at the right time. They will also keep a written record of it and may be able to help by collecting repeat prescriptions for you from your doctor or chemist.

Care workers are usually only allowed to prompt with medication rather than actually helping you to take it. If you need assistance to take tablets or medicine, receive medication via an injection, or need certain types of creams or ointments, then you may need a district nurse to assist you.

You can find out more about home care visits on Support in your home page.

Always talk to your GP about any issues you have with taking medication, and about ways of helping you to remember when to take it.

Last updated: 02/07/2021