Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib. This blog was first posted on September 24, 2017.
Chances are that those diagnosed with atrial fib, or any heart related problem, are taking medication(s). Many of us have other health problems for which we take more meds and some of us take supplements as well.
Managing them can be a full time job…an important one. A friend of mine once told me that she was tired of taking pills. She decided to take Sundays off from her meds.
When asking others what specific medications or medications in general they take, I have often heard from them, “I don’t know. The doctor told me to take it. So, I do.”
I have a tough time understanding this philosophy. I am not a doctor. Having health issues for most of my 81 years, none of my issues are cured. They are managed because I want to be in charge. I credit my doctors who partner with me and I ask a lot of questions.
Here are some suggestions to help manage meds:
- Ask your doctor what the prescriptions he recommends are for precisely. What is the brand name and is there a generic available for that drug? Example: Eliquis, a blood thinner is also known as its generic version apixaban.
- What are its side effects?
- How often and what time of day should it be taken? (Some heart meds are suggested to be taken at night before bed.)
- Is it compatible with other meds, even supplements? Also, ask your pharmacist this question. If not compatible, would a waiting period before taking other meds with it be advised?
- What if you miss a dose? This can be avoided if you schedule your meds by week and by day using a Sunday thru Saturday pill box for each day of the week. I have 3 such pill boxes and fill them for a 3 week cycle. This also helps you keep track of when you will run out and can judge reordering.
- On a budget? By sorting meds for 3 weeks, you can schedule ordering to coincide with your payment needs. Many pharmaceutical companies have coupons available and help patients with other needs. Check this out on the internet. Above all, partner with your doctors, be in charge and make friends with your pharmacist.
All of this and more is covered with detail IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib, the memoir that reads like a novel.