wikiHow to Remember to Take Medication

Three Parts:Understanding Your MedicationSetting Physical RemindersUsing Technology

A regular medication schedule makes your medication much more effective, and eliminates risks that comes with double dosing or skipped doses. Find a reminder that works for you, and stick to it. Stay with a system long enough to form a habit, and you'll find yourself forgetting much less often.

Part 1
Understanding Your Medication

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    Talk to your doctor about how to take your medication. In order to be more proactive about taking your medication, you need to understand what you're taking and why. Talk to your doctor when your meds are prescribed and make sure you understand the proper regimen for taking them.
    • Understand exactly what you're being treated for and how each medication affects your mind and body. Do not passively accept the prescription slip. Ask your doctor what the medication does.[1]
    • Talk to your doctor about side effects. You should always know what side effects to watch for and when and if you should discontinue use.[2]
    • Ask about how to take the medications. Some medications need to be taken with lots of water. Some need to be taken with food. Some must be taken every day, while others are taken multiple times a day. Make sure you know how to properly take your medication to get the best results.[3]
    • Use one pharmacy for all medications so the pharmacist can check for interactions with new prescriptions.
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    Understand what to do if you miss a dose. Despite your best efforts, you will likely miss a dose of your medication at some point. This happens to even to the most vigilant and there is different protocol for different types of meds. Sometimes, you should double the dose the next day. Other times, you should simply continue with regular doses and watch for side effects. Make sure you know what to do in the event you miss a dose of medication.[4]
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    Know how to safely store your medication. Medications need to be stored in different ways. Oftentimes, the medication bottle will have instructions for storage. Talk to your doctor about storing your meds if you have any questions.
    • Some medication, such as birth control, needs to be taken every day and some meds need to be taken around the same time. You may be tempted to keep your medication on hand, in your purse or wallet, but make sure this is safe first. Sometimes, medication needs to be kept at room temperature and is less effective if exposed to intense heat or cold.[5]
    • Medication might need to be kept at a specific temperature, which might mean it needs to be refrigerated or kept in a cool room of the house. Make sure you know what temperatures are appropriate for storing your medication.[6]

Part 2
Setting Physical Reminders

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    Use a pillbox. A pillbox is a storage device sold at most drug and department stores. It can be a great tool to keep track of what medication you need and when.
    • Pillboxes have separate compartments for each day of the week. At the beginning of each week, separate your pills into the proper dosages. Put those dosages in the pillbox, on the correct day they need to be taken.[7]
    • A pillbox is particularly great if you need to manage multiple medications, each with its own schedule. Simply place different medications in different sections, corresponding to the day of the week they need to be taken.
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    Place reminders in a visible place. Leave reminders throughout the house in places where you know you'll look often.
    • Get a calendar. Large calendars are sold at most drug and department stores. Calendars can be used to jot down when to take your meds. Some calendars are sold with magnets so they can be displayed on the fridge, meaning you'll see reminders every time you want something to eat.[8] You can also jot down any side effects on the calendar so you can track them. If these interfere with your daily activities, you should call your physician as soon as possible.
    • Sticky notes are also a great investment. You can buy them at any department store or print shop. Write down when you need to take your meds. Leave them places where you'll notice them throughout the day, like near the coffee pot, in the bathroom mirror, or on your front door.[9]
    • Small notes, written on notepad paper or index cards, are also a great tool. These can be used in a similar way as sticky notes. If you work at a desk frequently, having an index card propped up by your computer each week advising you when to take your meds can be a great reminder.[10]
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    Incorporate your medication into daily activities. You're more likely to remember your medication if it's part of an established routine. Adding taking your meds into an existing daily ritual can serve as a great reminder.
    • Try to take your medicine the same time each day and do so while you're doing other daily events. For example, take your medication before you brush your teeth. (But don't store your meds by the sink or you could knock over the bottle and spill them down the drain!) If you have medication that needs to be taken with food, always take it with breakfast or lunch.[11]
    • Many people incorporate a self-care ritual into their daily lives. Self-care is a simple, daily activity in which you take time to relax and reflect. For example, you could have hot tea, walk around the block, take a relaxing bath. If you practice self-care each day, try taking your pills just before or after your ritual.[12]
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    Have family members or friends remind you. Friends and family members care about your health as much as you do. Having a trusted friend or family member remind you each day to take your medication can be helpful.
    • Select someone who is non-judgmental and positive. You do not want someone who is going to be hard on you if you forget. Aim for someone who's known for having a good attitude.[13]
    • If you live with someone, it's easy for them to remind you each day. If you do not, however, you can ask for a simple text or phone call as a reminder.[14]

Part 3
Using Technology

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    Set electronic reminders. Technology can be used to your advantage in regards to remembering medication. Try setting reminders using your watch, clock, phone, or computer.
    • Most modern cell phones and computers have a system in place where you can set reminders. If you're not sure how to use your phone or computer to set reminders, simply google instructions. You can have a song or alarm play when the time comes to take your meds.[15]
    • If you have an alarm clock, you can set it to go off each day at a certain time as a reminder to take your medication. Many digital watches are equipped with alarms that can buzz or ring at specific times throughout the day.[16]
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    Use electronic medicine schedules online. There are many electronic medicine schedules that can be set up using the internet. The internet in general can provide a lot of helpful tools in regards to medication.
    • Daily emails or other reminders can be sent through an online server. There are also many websites that make automated medication schedules for you that can be generated by entering your medications, how often you need to take them, and their dosage. Schedules can be accessed online or printed out for your reference.[17]
    • You can also access forums or groups on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites that allow you to discuss medications and any issues you're having with other patients. Be aware that such sites should never replace medical advice; however, they can be a good place to go for emotional support and tips on how to remember to take meds.[18] The primary conversation regarding medication should be with your doctor. If you hear about something online that you'd like to try (from herbal supplements to altering your dosage to anything else regarding your health) speak with your doctor before proceeding.
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    Sign up for a text, call, or e-mail reminder service. You can find many sites online that allow you to enter your phone number or email address alongside information about your medication schedule. They use this information to send texts, phone calls, or emails reminding you to take your pills. Some fees may apply, depending on the service. Check with your healthcare provider. Some hospitals provide reminders, free of charge, for their patients.[19]


  • When traveling, pack the instructions along with your medication. This allows others to help you in case of emergency.
  • When writing calendar or electronic reminders, keep in mind that others may see them. If you're embarrassed of any medication, you can invent some kind of code work to remind yourself.
  • Visual reminders are easy to ignore once you get used to them. Consider changing your calendar or sticky notes to a different color every month.


  • If you do forget to take a dose, read the instructions that come with your medication carefully. Depending on the medicine and timing, you should either take your dose late or wait until the next scheduled dose. If you are not sure, ask the pharmacist to explain the dosage directions.
  • Some medications have 'black box warnings'. This means that when taken incorrectly, or by those with certain conditions, fatalities may arise. Place these and other such medications in a safe location and call your doctor right away if you think you might have accidentally taken more than prescribed.
  • Keep medication out of reach of children and pets.
  • Medications classed as controlled substances should be kept in a locked container.

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