The Caregiver's Journey

How Do I Manage Medications?

It is important to keep track of what medications are being taken and when. Here are tips to manage medications and prevent mistakes:

  • Always inform all members of your healthcare team of any drug or latex allergies.
  • When you leave the hospital or treatment facility, be sure you get a copy of the discharge instructions. They will include a list of all the medications your service member/veteran will be taking.
  • When picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy, have the pharmacy provide written information about the current prescriptions.
  • When picking up the prescription, make sure the order has your family member’s name on it. Make sure it includes the correct pills at the right dose.
  • Ask the doctor and/or pharmacist
    • What the medication is for, what it does 
    • What to do if you miss a dose 
    • When/how to take it (empty or full stomach, day time or bed time) 
    • What to do if there are side effects
  • Make sure the doctor is aware of all other medications. This includes supplements and herbal products that your family member takes. There might be possible side effects or harmful interactions.
  • Keep an up-to-date medication log with all prescription and non- prescription items. Include over-the-counter medications like antacids, pain relievers, supplements, high-energy drinks, and herbal products.
  • Carry the medication log with you every time you have a medical appointment.
  • Use a pill box to help you organize the medications and to help your family member take them on time.
  • It is never a good idea to stop medication on your own; always consult a provider first to discuss.
  • It can also be dangerous to adjust the dosage of medications on your own, without consulting the physician.
  • If you are having financial difficulties that make it hard to pay for medications, contact your case manager.
  • Your family member with TBI should NEVER take any medication without talking to the healthcare provider first.

Tips for Tracking Treatments and Side Effects

  • List side effects of medications (date and time) on the medication log at the end of this chapter. Ask the doctor which side effects are serious and call immediately if they occur. 
  • Write down results of tests (such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and/or medication blood levels). If you are checking your family member’s blood pressure or blood sugars at home, write down the values.
  • Be sure to take these results to appointments with healthcare providers.