AARP Expert

Keeping track of medications

When managing your own or a loved one's medications, there is a relatively simple way to keep track of what is taken routinely and which are for short term, like antibiotics. 


When you or your care-recipient finishes a medication, put the empty bottle in a see through zip lock bag, and if there were any side effects, write them on a piece of paper and put in the bottle. "Constipation for 3 days", or "sleepiness."  Before you put the pill bottle in the bag, call in the refill with 3 to 5 workdays in advance so the pharmacy and the prescribing provider can get to it right away. If it is a short term drug, you can write down: "for gout flare" in a bottle of prednisone, for example, or "tooth abscess infection" on a bottle of antibiotics. When you have an appointment with the primary care provider or a specialist, grab the bag. If there are duplicates, like 3 empty bottles of metformin, pitch out the oldest empty bottles.


You and your providers will be glad to have the information all together in a simple bag.

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