Let’s face it, life as a multiple myeloma patient can be overwhelming. One of the stressors can be remembering to take your meds. Especially when more than one medication is involved, which is likely to occur with myeloma patients, keeping track of them can be very difficult.
Whichever way you keep track of your medications, the most important thing to remember is that it works consistently and is easy to follow. Feel free to explore your options and find what fits!
Below is a list of ideas to keep track of medications from fellow patients and caregivers that has worked well for them:
Use an App
Explore an app to stay organized and keep your med information in one place. One of the most popular med-tracking apps is MediSafe. It’s free for iOS and Android users.
“You can input drug name, dosage and time you have to take meds. It reminds you when to take pills (sounds like a bottle of pills being shaked). Very handy!” —Evelynn R.
“I use an app on my iPad called Pill Reminder. I don’t know how I would have coped without it as my medicine schedule is challenging. I have some daily pills, an infusion every 28 days, a tablet 21 days out of 28, a weekly dose of steroids and also once a week, 3 weeks out of 4 I take another dose of chemo pills. Pill Reminder has allowed me to program all of this and reliably reminds me. Some people may have trouble programming all this and I would say to just do one medication per day and to experiment with the app.” —Sunpeaks S.
Invest in a Whiteboard
Technology can be frustrating, so a whiteboard is another way to stay organized and visibly track and schedule meds. Keeping it somewhere your patient will frequently see it is important so they won’t forget.
“I handwrite out a calendar every month for him. It’s a pain, but he crosses off each med as he takes them so I can evaluate.” —Cyn H. L.
Set a Reminder or Alarm
Smartphones are a great tool to track meds. You can set multiple reminders or alarms over time to help your patient remember. Other devices, such as the Alexa by Amazon, can also set reminders.
“Alarms are set on my phone three times a day. Pill jars with masking tape labels on top for day and time to take all stay in a box. When the alarm goes off I take out my meds due and return individual bottles to each box as I take.” —Gregory W.
“I use the Reminder app on my iPhone. I have recurring reminders set up at each time of day I take meds (thankfully, that’s 2x/day, not like the 6x or 7x/day right after SCT).” —Mick P.
Keep a Handwritten Calendar
It might be old-fashioned, but it works! If you or your patient are used to keeping a calendar or planner, try using it to track meds, too.
“I put the pills in 7 day pill box and have a small note book for each pill. I mark the day and time I am supposed to take the pill on the front, then mark time and day when I take the pills on the pages of notebook. I am not computer savvy, so this works for me. I write the dates on the pages and mark ahead of time when I need a refill. It takes a little more time but is easy for me to keep up.” —Roland & Carolyn S. R.
Try a Dispenser
“I did a TON of research for months to find something that would take away all the arguments, the confusion on his part with how he kept track of his meds, of when he took them and what he took. With his memory slipping each day he was on chemotherapy and the constant battles of arguing with him, I was fed up. Plus it would save me the stress of getting his meds ready every 2 hours. I FINALLY found a machine that is WELL worth the money. But you can dispense the medication in whatever time intervals you need and not on a 3 or 4 times basis. I needed something that could hold multiple meds, had a timer for 2 hours and would basically not let him accidentally overdose. I came across this WONDERFUL machine [MedReady 1700] which has helped him immensely with keeping track of when he last took them, when he’s ready for his next dose and I can fill it for the whole day and night. I can not recommend this enough.” —Jenny E.
Stick to Classic Medicine Containers
There’s a reason why this method of tracking has been around for ages–because it works, even when all other methods fail. It can be especially useful for those who are ‘hands-on’ learners.
“I separate out 2 weeks at a time and use medicine containers. I would never follow through with an app.” —Tricia C.
“I prepare my week of pills usually on Sunday. The only separate med is my Rev that I keep in (3) daily pill boxes I keep in a decorative box next to my bed. That way my 21 days are clear and I know when my week off starts.” —Debi O.
Try a Combination!
“I take prescriptions in mornings. I put those in pill weekly containers (I have two weeks worth). I set an alarm on my phone to take chemo. Then, once a week an alarm on my phone to take Ninlaro.” —Tammy S. H.
“I keep regular am/pm meds in a weekly pill box. I set an alarm to take one med at lunch. Maybe an app would be good.” —Linda F. M.