Taking your medication on time, every time

a woman at home with her medications

When your doctor prescribes you a medication, it’s important to follow the instructions as closely as possible. Taking the right amount of medication on schedule is part of your ongoing care. However, there are many common reasons why you might have trouble sticking to your dosing schedule. 

Reason #1: Forgetting to take your medication on time. This can be especially hard if you’re taking multiple medications with different dosing schedules.

Solutions: Make taking your medication part of your routine. Connect taking your medication to daily activities such as meals or going to bed. For example, you might set your medications near the breakfast table to remind you to take them after your breakfast, or have a note on the refrigerator to set a reminder.¹ You can also use your cell phone or clock to set alarms. And, there are apps that can send you reminders when it’s time to take your medication.

Reason #2: Not knowing how or when to take your medication. Understanding the instructions included with your prescription is important to make sure you take the correct amount at the right time.

Solutions: Carefully read the instructions included with your medication, which should be printed on the prescription label or included in the medication’s packaging. If you’re having trouble understanding the instructions, call your doctor’s office for help.

Reason #3: Not believing your medication is effective or still necessary. It’s easy to think you can stop taking your medication if its effects aren’t noticeable or you’re feeling better.

Solutions: Always talk with your doctor before you stop taking your medication early. Many medications might not have a noticeable effect when you take them, but are still important to take. If you’re prescribed antibiotics, you should make sure to finish out the prescription, even if you start feeling better. Stopping early could leave germs alive that might become harder to treat.²

Reason #4: Having trouble managing the medication’s side effects. Some medications can cause unwanted effects that affect your ability or willingness to take them.

Solutions: Talk to your doctor if you’re unable to tolerate your medications. There may be an alternative medication, or lower dose, that might lessen the side effects. There could also be lifestyle or dietary changes that can help.³

Reason #5: Having trouble paying for your medication. The cost of medications can be hard to fit into your budget.

Solutions: Talk to your doctor about switching to a generic version of your medication. These contain the same active ingredients as name-brand medications, but can cost up to 80% less.⁴ You can also see whether you qualify for drug assistance programs in your state.⁵

Reason #6: Running out of your medication. Forgetting to refill early enough could leave you out of medication when you need it.

Solutions: Ordering your medications through a mail-delivery pharmacy, such as CenterWell Pharmacy™, is a good way to ensure you have your medications on hand. Medications often come in a 90-day supply, and are conveniently shipped to your home. Signing up for text message reminders makes it easy to remember when it’s time to refill. Learn how to sign up for text message reminders here.

You can also get your refill on its way right from our website, without signing in. Just go to centerwellpharmacy.com and enter your prescription number and date of birth. 

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.


  1. “Are You Taking Medication as Prescribed?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, November 15, 2017, last accessed August 14, 2018, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/why-you-need-take-your-medications-prescribed-or-instructed.
  2. “Are You Taking Medication as Prescribed?”
  3. “Finding and Learning about Side Effects (adverse reactions),” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, July 23, 2018, last accessed August 14, 2018, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-consumers-and-patients-drugs/finding-and-learning-about-side-effects-adverse-reactions
  4. “Are You Taking Medication as Prescribed?”
  5. “Are You Taking Medication as Prescribed?”

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