Now that we've discussed some of the ways you can remember your medications and appointments, let's talk about a few of the more common reasons why people might NOT take their medicine as directed.
(Patient:) "Sometimes it's hard to remember to take my medicines. What will make it easier for me to remember?"
Using a reminder system such as a beeper, alarm clock, Post-it notes, or a family member or significant other can help you remember when to take your medications. You could also use a regularly watched TV program as a reminder.
(Patient 1:) "What about these side effects? Sometimes they make me feel so bad that I don't want to take my medications."
(Patient 2:) "Side effects -- you name it, I've had it. Take it from me, you can do it. With the help of my doctor and healthcare team, I was able to get through the first few doses of treatment, and things gradually got better. Hang in there and talk about how you're feeling. There may be something that can be done to help you get through these side effects."
You will most likely experience some side effects while on this treatment -- so don't be surprised. Be sure to report any side effects to your healthcare provider; some of them are treatable and can be managed to help you feel better. For some side effects, you may need to take additional medications, for others you may need to take a lower dose of your treatment medicines. So it's important to always let your healthcare provider know how you're doing.
(Patient:) "Sometimes I feel sad and overwhelmed. Other times I get angry and even little things seems to bother me. I don't feel like taking this medicine any more."
Speak to your healthcare provider if you feel depressed, overwhelmed, or if you feel like hurting yourself or others. These are serious situations and it's important for you to communicate these feelings. Your healthcare providers may be able to help you feel better. Also, talk to your friends and family. Most importantly, remember to be patient with yourself. If you're having thoughts about harming yourself or others, call your healthcare provider immediately.
(Patient:) "I'm just too busy with work and other things. I don't have time to think about when I should be taking my medication."
Your healthcare provider can give you some good ideas if you need to discuss your situation with your boss or co-workers. Though remembering your medications may seem difficult, getting rid of the hepatitis C virus and improving your health should be your number one priority.
Finally, some people find it hard to take their medicines if they have a change in their normal routine. These changes include things like: losing a job or getting a new job, having to work new hours, moving, going on vacation, and weekends. Things change in our lives all the time, but if you're ready for a change, it will be easier to stay on schedule with your medications. No matter what the change, have a plan ready to make sure that you are still taking your medications.
By being aware of the more common reasons why people stop taking their medications, you can prepare yourself to avoid these obstacles, and complete your treatment program.