What is Script Your Future?
Script Your Future is a national, student-led campaign that focuses on improving patient medication adherence.
The name of the campaign comes from the idea that patients can rescript their own future by making changes to positively impact their health starting with taking their medications as prescribed. The goal of the campaign is to help patients understand why taking medications as prescribed is vital to living a long healthy life.
Script Your Future works with patients to provide resources and tools to manage their health problems.
NEOMED has participated in Script Your Future since the campaign first began in 2011 and has managed to impact the lives of thousands of patients over the years.
As future pharmacists, we take pride in helping and educating to make meaningful changes to your life.
Medication Side Effects: What They Are and How to Manage Them
By Alexis Lynch, College of Medicine, Class of 2024
March 21, 2022
You have probably noticed at the end of every prescription drug commercial as the screen shows a cheery individual in a field of flowers and sunshine, there is also a quiet voice in the background rapidly going through a laundry list of possible side effects ranging from nausea to life-threatening complications resulting in hospitalization or permanent damage. There may be only a few words you heard from the list but it can still sound scary! You could find yourself asking if you’re at risk for those serious side effects, or if there’s any way to prevent some of the more common side effects. Thankfully, there are a few ways to assess side effect risk as well as some ways that you can prevent specific side effects seen with some drugs.
Medications are meant to treat conditions or maintain your state of health, but all medications including prescription and over-the-counter drugs have risks associated with them, such as side effects. These can also be referred to as adverse drug events. Some of the most common side effects experienced with medication include nausea, headache, dry mouth, changes to bowel patterns, and drowsiness. Factors such as age, genetics, gender, and much more can impact your risk of experiencing side effects. Each medication has a different set of side effects associated with it, so it is important to discuss the potential for side effects when your doctor is prescribing you a new medication.
You May Experience Medication Side Effects When
- Starting a new medication or dietary supplement
- Stopping a medication that you have been taking regularly
- Increasing or decreasing the dose of a current medication you take
What Can I Do to Lower My Risk of Side Effects?
Discuss with your healthcare provider what common side effects of your medication you should be aware of and what steps you should take if you begin to experience any of them.
Ask your healthcare provider for ways to prevent side effects such as taking the medication with food, or at a specific time of day if needed.
Keep track of all your current medications and supplements, whether prescription or over-the-counter, so your doctor can help make sure any new side effects aren’t being caused by two of your medications reacting with each other. A detailed list can also help healthcare providers distinguish between what might be a new symptom of an illness or actually a side effect of one of your medications.
When picking up a prescription, ask the pharmacist for more information about the drug. Your prescription will also come with documents that include a list of common and serious side effects. These lists can be extensive, so it may be helpful to talk to the pharmacist and learn what side effects are most commonly experienced with your medication. Over-the counter drugs will have a Drug Facts section of the label that includes warnings about the medication as well as possible side effects and when to contact your doctor about them.
Pharmacies often label medication boxes or bottles with stickers that have drug-specific information about potential side effects or how to take the medication to prevent side effects.
Common Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Side Effects
Certain areas of your diet or lifestyle may influence or help ease the side effects you may experience with a medication. For example:
- Diet: Some medications can interact with foods such as grapefruit, so it is important to discuss with your pharmacist if there are any foods you should remove from your diet upon starting a new medication. Constipation, a common side effect for many drugs, can often be managed through increased fiber intake and proper hydration. Likewise, dehydration can increase the risk of side effects from certain medications.
- Alcohol: Side effects like confusion, drowsiness, respiratory depression, and more can be enhanced by the level of alcohol you are consuming. Many medications will have labeling indicating that you should not take the medication with alcohol, but you should also discuss with your doctor to ensure you are managing your prescriptions and alcohol intake safely.
- Sunscreen: Some medications can make you more sensitive to sun exposure, so you may need to be more careful about covering up with a hat or properly applying sunscreen before going outdoors.
- Timing your medication: While taking your medication either when you wake up or when you go to bed can help ensure you remember to take it regularly, the time of day you take your medication can also be important in reducing the impact of common side effects. For example, medications that may cause dizziness or drowsiness are regularly recommended to be taken before bed so that you don’t risk falls or feel lethargic during the daytime.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help!
In conclusion, you should always feel comfortable discussing new side effects you’re experiencing from a medication with your healthcare provider. Some topics such as impacts on your sex life might feel uncomfortable to talk about, but it is important to talk to your doctor because they can help fix these problems through changes to the dosage or trying different medications altogether. Even if you’re unsure that something new you’re experiencing is related to the medication you take, it doesn’t hurt to bring it up with your healthcare provider to see if it might be related. It may take time and a bit of patience when starting a new medication to find the right dose, drug, or drug combination that works best for you. There are individual factors such as age, genetics, and other medical conditions that can impact your risk for side effects and might require a bit more work to reach the right balance between managing your conditions as well as medication side effects.
Lack of Symptoms as a Cause of Medication Non-Adherence
By Elisabeth Hofinger, College of Medicine, Class of 2025
March 15, 2022
One of the main reasons that patients may struggle to adhere to a medication plan is because of a delay in improvement of symptoms or because their symptoms seem to disappear. While some medications may be able to be discontinued after symptoms have begun to resolve, it is extremely important to continue taking the medication to the extent that your prescriber has recommended in order to determine its therapeutic success.
One example of a situation that could cause a patient to stop taking a prescription is the use of antibiotics. You may have heard of the importance of finishing a full round of antibiotics. Many patients may feel improvement of symptoms after a few days of antibiotic treatment and therefore stop taking them. The dosage of the antibiotic is prescribed specifically to suppress bacteria in a certain amount of time. When stopped early, the antibiotic will have killed only some of the bacteria, leaving the rest of it to mutate, grow again, or become resistant to future antibiotic treatment. Repeated cycles of not finishing your antibiotic can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. As a result, future infections could require more extreme measures of treatment.
Unlike antibiotics, many medications are prescribed to manage chronic conditions. An example of this would be a blood pressure medication. The medications used to treat this complex condition tend to be very effective. Although it may seem like the initial problem is ‘fixed’ once your blood pressure has improved, abruptly stopping the medication could put you at risk for a spike in blood pressure, as well as other complications. Discontinuing a medication for a chronic illness typically involves modifying other lifestyle factors and the decision should be made alongside your physician.
On the flip side, if you feel that a medication is not working, consult your physician before discontinuing. There may be a delay in response to treatment depending on what kind of medication it is, and suddenly discontinuing any medication may have negative side effects such as worsening of symptoms. Overall, communication with your physician and pharmacist about your adherence to medications will help you optimize the success of your treatment plan.
Polypharmacy & Medication Adherence
By Aidan Coggeshall, College of Medicine, Class of 2025
March 11, 2022
What is polypharmacy? Polypharmacy is when five or more medications are being used at one time to treat medical conditions. People with multiple conditions are often also using multiple medications at the same time.1
What are the benefits and risks associated with polypharmacy? For those with multiple medical conditions, polypharmacy may improve disease symptoms and overall quality of life. However, this may also increase the risk of medication interactions and decrease medication adherence, which are both issues that your prescriber should address. Bringing all your current medications to all your medical appointments is important so that your prescriber or pharmacist can review them and prevent any drug therapy problems. Discussing your goals to treat and manage your health conditions with your prescriber is important as it may influence the medications you are prescribed.3
How can medication adherence with polypharmacy be improved? As more medications are added to your regimen, it may become harder to remember to take your medications or take them as directed. You should discuss any concerns you have about taking your medications with your pharmacist. If you are having problems affording or taking your medications, your pharmacist can work with you to come up with a solution. If you are forgetting to take your medications, labeled pill boxes may be helpful. It is important to understand that taking your medications is a vital part of your daily routine. Having a family member to help you remember to take your medications can also be beneficial.2
1.Halli-Tierney AD, Scarbrough C, Carroll D. Polypharmacy: Evaluating Risks and Deprescribing. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Jul 1;100(1):32-38. PMID: 31259501.
2.Manouchehr Saljoughian, P. D. (2019, July 18). Polypharmacy and drug adherence in elderly patients. U.S. Pharmacist – The Leading Journal in Pharmacy. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/polypharmacy-and-drug-adherence-in-elderly-patients
3.Reuben D.B., & Rosen S, & Schickedanz H.B. (2017). Principles of geriatric assessment. Halter J.B., & Ouslander J.G., & Studenski S, & High K.P., & Asthana S, & Supiano M.A., & Ritchie C(Eds.), Hazzard’s Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 7e. McGraw Hill. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=1923§ionid=144517796
Freeing your Forgetfulness
By Paris Bell, College of Pharmacy Class of 2024
March 4, 2022
When life happens, life happens. Life can occur at once. When the days bleed into one another, that important pill to regulate your current health condition remains in its prescription vial. Time and time again, you begin to tell yourself, “I’ll take it when I get home,” and suddenly, it’s dinner time- even time for bed! As time passes, it’s time for a refillwith many pills in your prescription vial remaining. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Medication adherence is important. Freeing yourself from forgetfulness will ensure your current health condition is properly managed! Fortunately, there are many ways to identify forgetfulness and free yourself from forgetfulness!
Utilizing your Pharmacist
Pharmacists are advocates. We care about the health and safety of our patients! Upon picking up your prescription, feel free to ask your pharmacist any questions regarding your medications and their dosing schedules! Understanding special dosing requirements will aid you when formulating a treatment plan!
Pill package devices
Nearly every department store supplies containers labelled, “M T W T F S S.” Each letter represents the day of the week! Patients who have such devices to monitor their daily medications increase their adherence rates! Start the same day you purchase your pill management device and watch your adherence rates increase.
We are living within a technologically advanced era! This means the use of SMART phones are becoming more prevalent! Embrace the technological movement by utilizing your SMART phone to send gentle reminders about medications daily. If you prefer to take your medications in the morning, set a reminder on your phone to remind you in the morning time! In addition to built-in notification systems, most pharmacies utilize a medication adherence component within their apps to remind patients of medications daily.
If you should choose to use an app independent of your local pharmacy, Medisafe Medication Management is a great application to use. Its platform contains privacy settings that will not link your personal health information to the software developer of the application!
Keeping Medications in Familiar Areas
Humans are habitual in nature. Therefore, using habits to remember to take your medication daily might be a preferred method for you! One way to naturally remember to take your medications daily involves placing your prescription bottles in areas of the home you are in every day- the bedroom is the perfect example! Keeping medications in areas of the home you are in the most is a great way to remind you to take your daily medications. However, it is important to keep medications away from the bathroom, as the fluctuations in temperature can compromise the integrity your medications.
Assistance from Family
If you are a patient who prefers the support of family to remind you to take your medication, this is also a method that is proven to ensure medication adherence.
Family support increases medication adherence and formulates a healthy support system to achieve your health goals!
Developing a Morning/Evening Routine
It is important to embrace the creation of routines within daily living, as this can make day-to-day tasks much easier! Fortunately, this is NOT limited to medication management.
Find a great time to sit down and develop a morning and evening routine and incorporate your medications into this routine. It will be second nature within 3 months!
As shown, there are many ways to free yourself from forgetfulness! The trick to overcoming forgetfulness is to identify, treat, and prevent it. It is crucial to understand that as humans, it is normal to forget. Life happens! I hope you have a safe journey towards enhancing your health goals!
Drug Cost – So Many Options!
By Lewis Smith, College of Pharmacy Class of 2023
March 1, 2022
I’ve worked with countless patients over many years of working in pharmacy. I’ve worked in high-income areas and low-income areas. I’ve filled prescriptions priced as low as $0 and as high as $10,000. The one thing that a vast majority of patients want, including myself, is affordable medications. Nobody wants to have to bargain between paying rent and staying healthy or alive. Insurance is a complicated system to tackle. Did I meet my deductible? Is it even covered this month? What tier is this medication? What is a tier? And that’s assuming you can afford insurance premiums at all.
So, what is the solution to all this confusion and chaos we experience when trying to fill our medications? Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple solution. But pharmacists and pharmacy technicians know this and understand patient woes and are there to help. If they haven’t applied them already, don’t be afraid to ask about possible discounts for your medications. There are so many options out there that not many patients know about. Manufacturer coupons are available for many expensive brand medications. They can help cut down your copay if you have insurance or offer you a free trial or lower cost if you don’t have insurance. And most brand medications now have cost-saving generic alternatives that are equivalent or therapeutically similar in the same class.
But what about expensive generic drugs? I’m glad you asked! One of the best resources for generic drugs is Goodrx.com. They supply you with prices available at all the pharmacies in the area, so you know where the best price will be. There are other discount cards, Make-a-wish and ASPCA have one of the best generic drug discount cards around. Ask your doctor’s office or pharmacy if they have any discount cards they prefer or can provide you one. Some doctors may have free samples of some medications so that you don’t have to bite the bullet on a brand-new medication.
With all the options, it can be overwhelming. Your best resource is the people who deal with dispensing prescriptions all day, YOUR pharmacist and pharmacy team. The people who work at the pharmacy are there to look out for you. They can provide resources available to make your medication affordable. Sometimes that means transferring a prescription to a different pharmacy or calling the insurance company. But if it helps your wallet and improves your health, then we have achieved our goal. So, if you see that crazy high price, or you hear the dreaded question, “Are you aware of the price on this?” don’t hesitate to ask for help. Sometimes all it takes is 5 minutes to save someone money as well as a giant headache, which will also save you the cost of a bottle of Tylenol!
What everyone should know about barriers to medication adherence
By Jasmeen Khuban, College of Pharmacy Class of 2024
February 24, 2022
According to the American Heart Association, medication non-adherence leads to 125,000 preventable deaths per year. In this series, we will be discussing barriers that contribute to medication non-adherence, as well as ways to improve your overall health.
As someone who has struggled with medication adherence in the past, it’s safe to say that nobody is perfect. Yes, this includes your healthcare providers!
There are many different types of barriers that contribute to non-adherence. Some of these are related to socioeconomic conditions, health systems, treatment options, or patient factors.
Common socioeconomic barriers include low health literacy, lack of support from family, or high cost of medications. Knowledge of your medication and disease state is important to help you understand how your therapy regimen prevents your condition from worsening. Therapy-related barriers can include complex therapy regimens; this could be frequent changes in dose, how often medication is taken, or even changes in the medication itself. Lack of benefit, as well as side effects, are also key barriers.
Health-system related barriers include inadequate time with a provider and inadequate insurance coverage. It is possible that your provider may not have taken the time to thoroughly explain what a medication is, what it is for, and how you are supposed to take it. Also, your insurance company may not fully cover the medication your provider prescribed. Therefore, the cost may be very high, or you may need to go on a different medication if it is not covered at all.
Patient-related factors may include forgetfulness, inadequate resources, lack of understanding of medication, an altered perception of the disease state, or cognitive impairment. It’s possible that access to your pharmacy or transportation is limited, or your medication use, and counseling points were never discussed with you. You may think to yourself “Why take a medication if I don’t know what it’s going to do for me?”. It is extremely important to address any concerns you have about your medication with a healthcare provider.
These are some of the most common barriers that many patients face. However, there are strategies and resources that your pharmacy team can help you overcome them and keep you healthy. Don’t let barriers prevent you from taking your medication. Talk to your pharmacist to discuss solutions that may work for you.
Stay tuned for more!
What is Medication Adherence?
By Oliva King, College of Pharmacy Class of 2025
February 22, 2022
Medication adherence is the extent to which patients take medications as prescribed. Non-adherence may include failing to fill/refill a prescription, missing a dose, taking a lower/higher dose than prescribed, taking an old medication for a new problem, or even forgetting whether you’ve taken a medication. Almost everyone has been non-adherent at some point in life. I know I have more than once! However, the effects of non-adherence can be serious and even life-threatening.
Luckily, there are realistic tools that can be used to increase adherence.
Some of these tools include pill boxes, compliance packaging, and even smartphone pill reminder apps.
These tools are inexpensive, if not available at no cost and saves you money in the long run, by keeping you healthier. If one tool doesn’t work for you, try another!
You’re bound to find a method that works for you. If you have any questions or concerns about your medication adherence, speak to your pharmacist or pharmacy staff, as they may have some new tools and tricks to help you remember to take you medications.
What does Medication Adherence Mean? Why is it Important?
By Kavita Saini, College of Pharmacy Class of 2024
January 26, 2022
Medication adherence means to take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, being adherent involves getting medications filled by your pharmacy on time, remembering to take your medications, and having a full understanding of the directions your doctor has given you.
There are many reasons patients may not be adherent to their medications including cost, forgetfulness, and side effects. There are solutions to many of these problems and we are here to help you find those!
You may be wondering why being adherent to your medication regimen matters so much. According to the American Heart Association, nonadherence leads to 125,000 preventable deaths per year.
Taking your medications as prescribed will improve your overall health and prevent any complications from occurring. We understand making changes to what you are used to can be difficult, but we are here to help. Start here by making your pledge to script your future.