Wellness & Education

Tips for Organizing Medications

Organizing medications for yourself or a loved one can be exhausting.  To make things easier, it helps to have a medication list and a pillbox.  

The MEDICATION LIST should contain the following information:  

  • Medication Name 
  • Name and phone number of prescribing healthcare provider
  • What is it for?  
  • How much should be taken? 
  • How often should it be taken?  
  • When should it be taken?  
  • Name and Phone Number of Pharmacy 
  • Reminders (Take with food, etc.) 
  • Side Effects to watch for.  

The pillbox should have sections that are big enough to contain all of the pills for each time slot. It should also have one section for each time slot. (If pills are to be taken twice a day, for example, a weekly pillbox should have 14 sections.) Fortunately, there are pillboxes with different numbers of sections, including a box of 28 sections designed for a week of four daily doses.  Make sure that the pillbox can be easily opened and closed by your loved one before filling it for the first time.  

There are alternatives to the pillbox. The easiest solution is to have the pharmacy put all medications in pill packs. Pill packs contain one section for each dose with multiple sections on one plastic sheet. All medications can be put into a single section, just as you would do when packing a pillbox at home.  

The nice thing about the pill pack is that it’s very hard for medication to spill out of more than a single section.  The downside is that if a pill pack contains several medications, and only one prescription is changed before the sheet has been used up, then doses of several different medications will be wasted when a new pill pack is ordered.    

Another alternative to the pillbox is a bag of disposable pill pouches. A pill pouch is a small, disposable, zip lock bag. These are not as useful as a pillbox, since the empty sections on a pillbox help remind the patient when a dose has already been taken. However, pill pouches may be easier for some patients to open. They have white space on the pouch for labeling and instructions.