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Remember your Transplant Medications
last updated:
Thu, 9/02/2010 2:09 PM

Ask any transplant patient and they will most likely tell you the most important thing they do to protect their transplanted organ is take their medications. These medications are so very vital. The medications that a transplant patient takes range from anti-rejection medications, to anti-virals and antibiotics to prevent opportunistic infections, to different vitamins and minerals that may be lost after transplant. All of the medications work together to keep the transplant patient healthy. However, it is not always easy to remember to take all these different pills. Here are a few tips for all patients to help remember to take the transplant medications on schedule:

  1. Take your pills at the same time as an activity you do everyday, such as brushing your teeth, or taking a shower. After a week or two of doing this, you will begin to associate taking your meds as a part of the activity and it should become a habit.
  2. Set an alarm as a reminder. Most of us carry our cell phones everywhere these days. You can set a daily alarm as your “pill alarm.” The only caveat to this is remembering to bring your pills with you if the alarm is set for the middle of the day. These alarms can also be set as a start up reminder on your computer for all those who are more tech-savvy.
  3. Place reminder cards in various locations. If you take your pills at work, place a reminder on the computer, if you’re at home place a sticker on the refrigerator or on the bathroom mirror. Just make sure the reminders are somewhere you will look every day.
  4. Ask a responsible and willing family member, friend or co-worker to support you with daily reminders. This can be especially helpful if the friend or family member also takes daily medications. You can make a pact to remind each other about taking your meds.
  5. Use a pillbox. This way you can easily look and see if you have missed a dose. Pillboxes eliminate second-guessing and are easily purchased at any drug store.
  6. Keep a chart or calendar. Once you take your medications for the day, place a check on the calendar. If you take multiple doses, divide the calendar squares into as many pieces as necessary to place the checks. This can be especially helpful if you have a pocket calendar, which can go with you everywhere.

These are just some small tips, which may help you remember to take your incredibly important transplant medications. There are many other ways to remember you just have to find what works for you. Once you get into the routine, it should easily become a lifelong habit that you never have to think twice about.

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Amanda Dean is a Nurse Practitioner at the Pre-Transplant Clinic. For more information, contact the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee at transplant@methodisthealth.org. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Locate a transplant surgeon in Tennessee or call 866.805.7710.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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