The first step to effectively managing your condition is to take your medication correctly.
If you don’t take your drugs regularly then you’re not going to have constant communication between your nerve endings.
Of the topics in this section, medication may be the one that involves the least amount of change and could have the most impact.
If you take your medication correctly, the best case scenario is that it will improve your condition, if it makes no change then it will still provide your healthcare professional with a clear view of how well the medication is working.
This will enable them to make changes which could lead to improvements for you.
The medication routine and technique you try and implement has to fit into your life, rather than the other way round.
It is rare to have days that follow the exact same pattern so try and identify the parts of your day (tasks, places and people) that are most consistent and plan around those.
Become the expert
If you’re an expert in your own medication you may increase the chances of sticking to your treatment plan. This can help if there aren’t noticeable symptoms that remind you to take your medication.
Knowing the difference between the symptoms of your condition and side effects of any medication will help you understand whether your treatment plan is working or not.
Make your treatment plan part of your routine
If you link your medication to something that you do every day in a certain place, then taking it won’t be a standalone task, just another part of your daily routine. For example, you might keep your medication in the bathroom and take it before you brush your teeth, or keep it on your bedside table and take it before you turn the lights off at night.
If you take multiple medications, or have to take medication at regular intervals during the day then you may find pill boxes useful.
They can be ordered online or are readily available at chemists or pharmacies. You should be able to find the pill box that suits you – for example, some are separated by days of the week, others by hours of the day.
Work with your healthcare team to simplify your treatment plan
Keeping your treatment plan simple can make your life easier. For example, by talking to your healthcare team about your lifestyle, you may be able to find alternative medications that are a better fit for your life.
Any changes to your routine should come in consultation with your healthcare professional and decisions should not be taken alone.
Reminders and Apps on your phone
If you own a smartphone and carry it daily, downloading a pill reminder app could be a way to remember to take your medication.
There are a number of apps available, some can be customised, you can add notes or even photos if you find that helps.
Medisafe is an app that allows you and those around to set reminders for multiple medications.
Calendars, either a paper diary or the app on your phone, can be a great way of reminding yourself to take your medication. They’re useful in helping you plan your medication around your day-to-day activities.
A calendar can also be used to record when you‘ve taken your medication correctly – this will stop you from accidentally taking multiple doses.
Use people in your life
It is unlikely that you’ll be the only person in your network of family and friends taking medication. If you can, create a team of people who can help remind you to take your doses.
Keep an accurate record of what medication you take and the strength of your doses
A list that clearly shows your treatment plan can be very useful as something for you to refer back to and also to use in an emergency. Remember to update your list if your medications change.
My Medicine List is a printable worksheet that allows you to write your full list of medications, including when you take them during the day, why you take them and the doses.