A phones alarm going off as a speech bubble with a pill in it floats next to it

The Mystery of Missing My Medication

A few days ago, I was sitting around my house and realized that I wasn’t feeling quite right. My head felt fuzzy and I was markedly more tired than I usually am at that time. I then began a quest to figure out what was wrong. Was the temperature okay? Did I remember to eat? Was I due for my monthly infusion?

Finally, I realized that I had forgotten to take my daily medication that morning. Despite having an incurable chronic illness and relying on various medications for over two decades, I still have plenty of moments when I end up failing to take them.

My medication reminders and safeguards

As this issue continues to be a struggle for me, I adopted some methods long ago that I had hoped would keep me on schedule with my medications. I purchased a fancy, yet easy-to-understand pill container that separates each day's medication into individual sections.

I also instituted an alarm on my phone that goes off at the same time every single day to remind me when it’s time to visit that fancy pill container. I’ve always thought that should be all the precautions I would need. The reality though is that I still keep missing my medication. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

This or That

Do you have a hard time remembering to take your medication regularly?

The importance of a medication schedule

While this might seem obvious, it’s actually easy to forget (or at least keep dismissing) that medication is only effective when taken as prescribed. To work as intended, most medications must be taken consistently, at the same time, and in the correct quantity. Many medications also need to be built up in your system to have the desired effect. So when you miss a dose, it may not impact you right away, but might affect you sometime down the line.

One of the many reasons I was excited to get on Tysabri (a once-a-month IV infusion), was because I knew that I was continually messing up my daily Copaxone shots and that probably rendered the treatment ineffective.

Daily injections vs. monthly infusions

I understand my reasons for missing my Copaxone injections so often. I was young and took them before bed, which didn’t work well for a young adult (as I was when I was on it). I also know that I had some nights when I couldn't bring myself to inject. I mentally just could not do it (back then, they had no AutoJect device and I had to take it every day). I was also on Avonex at the same time for a bit, meaning eight injections a week. That proved to be difficult for me from a mental standpoint. The once-a-month administration of Tysabri, by someone else, has made my life much simpler and kept me on that treatment.

Struggling to remember to take my MS medications

While that’s been great for my disease progression, I have still been taking daily pills to combat various symptoms, and I keep forgetting them. It’s been a perplexing problem for me. How can I sometimes manage to ignore both a daily routine and a daily alarm? Are my cognitive issues, particularly my memory and attention, really that bad? That has to be the issue, right?

I simply dismiss my alarm and fail to follow my routine. I keep trying to come up with ways to make sure I’ve taken my medication, but I’m not sure what else I can do. Aside from that, if my cognitive issues are bad enough to mess this up, what else am I missing?

As always, what are your thoughts? How do you make sure you take your medication when you need to?

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share! As always, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!


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