My Tips for Remembering to Take Epilepsy Medication
Having epilepsy brings on a whole lot of other symptoms and each medication has many possible side effects. For me, and many others, one of the biggest issues we can face is with our memory. From the countless seizures, lack of oxygen, and potent medications we take daily our brains take quite a hit.
Memory problems with epilepsy
Brain fog is described by many as forgetfulness, confusion, and difficulty thinking. But what does that feel like and what does it entail? For myself, it's like reading a passage in a book over and over and over again because I cannot comprehend what I have just read the first or the second time around. It can be walking into a room and forgetting almost immediately why I am in there. But, you see, those are the little things.
The biggest issue I face with my memory is remembering whether or not I took my medications! With epilepsy, it is so important to stay on top of your medication regimen because even one missed dosage or even late dosing can cause a breakthrough seizure to occur. Each epilepsy patient has to find what tips and tricks work for them.
Keeping track of meds, doses, and times
I have been on many medications, and with each change, I would have to find a new way to keep up with them all. It can be quite difficult when you are on multiple medications, dosages, and taken at different time periods. Many – but certainly not all – medications are taken either twice a day (BID) or 3 times a day (TID) and it is important to take them every day at the exact same time.
When I first started having seizures and was put on medications I was not told about the need to take my meds at the same time every day or about the chance of recurrent seizures if not done properly. So like a lot of young people, I was taking the meds when I remembered to or when I woke up and before I went to bed – no matter the time. This led to a lot of breakthrough seizures for me. A lot of being told I was non-compliant with my medications, but in all reality, I had just never been educated.
So if you do not take anything from this article, please take with you the importance of taking your medication on a set schedule! Now let's talk tips and tricks on remembering to take those medications.
Tools for remembering to take epilepsy medication
Medication reminder apps
You can download apps on your smartphone that will send you daily/timed reminders to take your medication, many even telling you which med to take at which time. Here are a few apps that I have personally used and found helpful for managing my medications:
Alarms on your cell phone
If you are not interested in downloading any additional applications to your phone, you can use your alarm clock that is already on your phone. Set a timer for the same time every day for each dose you need to take and use the notes section to write down which medication and dosage.
Flipping the bottle
When you take your first dose of medication flip the bottle upside down with the lid on the surface. That way, you know for sure you took that medication! When you take the next dose, flip it back to top up so it can start over. Now, this is a trick I only found useful for meds taken twice daily.
There are many different organizers for single dosages as well as multi-dosages. Some newer organizers even come with their own applications to set alarms through.
Medication compliance is so important with epilepsy
As a patient living with epilepsy, it is so important to take the medications that are prescribed and to take them in a timely manner. Sometimes doctors think their patients should already know how, when, and what to take, but unless educated, we just don't.
So here is a reminder to take your medicine, take it as prescribed, do whatever you need to remember to take them. Find what tips and tricks work for you, and as always, whenever you miss a dose communicate that with your doctors. Most doctors have a plan in place for missed dosages of medication.
What if I miss a dose?
For me, as long as it is more than 4 hours before my next dose, my doctor has said I am okay to take the missed dose. But if it is less than 4 hours til my next dose, then my doctor has instructed that I am to skip the missed dose. Ask your prescriber what you should do in the event of missing a dose.
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