Following your doctors’ treatment instructions is key to improving your health and dealing with health problems, diseases, and conditions. Medication adherence and using antibiotics safely is an important part of that.
Medication adherence is taking your meds at the right time of day, in the right dosage, and the right number of times. This is an important part of your care plan.
If your doctor writes you a prescription, you need to get it filled and use it for as long as your doctor told you to.
For example, if your doctor says to take a medicine once a day with food until you run out of pills, follow his directions exactly. These directions are for your safety. Maybe the med causes side effects like nausea if taken without food. And in some cases, a bug can come back even stronger if you don’t take all of the prescription.
If you take medication regularly, like for a chronic condition, it is especially important to keep taking your meds until your doctor tells you otherwise.
Always ask your doctor any questions you may have about your medicines. Make sure you understand the best way to take your meds and what they will do for you when your doctor prescribes them. Always call your doctor before you quit taking any prescription medicine.
And you never have to forget to refill your prescription again. Many pharmacies let you place orders online for pick up.
Helpful Mobile Apps
The OptumRx App is also a great way to stay on top of your prescriptions. With the mobile app in your pocket:
- Never miss a dose! Set reminders to take your prescription or over-the-counter-medications.
- Stay on top of medication refills. See when refills are due, get refill reminders, and quickly contact your pharmacy.
- Have one-touch access to your electronic pharmacy ID card.
- Order refills from OptumRx Home Delivery.
- Find network pharmacies by ZIP code or location, then check and compare current prescription prices.
- Show your doctor exactly what medications you are taking.
- Pull up your medication history anytime.
- Learn about medication side effects and interactions.
- Keep your mind sharp with a brain quiz and brain games.
Using Antibiotics Safely
Antibiotics are medicines that can help you and your family feel better fast, if taken correctly. Antibiotics cure infections caused by bacteria, like:
- Strep throat
- Staph infection
- Sinus infections
- Some pneumonia
- Some ear infections
But if you take antibiotics for infections they can’t cure, like ones caused by viruses, bacteria can build up antibiotic resistance. Bacteria can learn from the antibiotic and change to survive and grow. That means that when you take an antibiotic again, it won’t work as well because the bacteria will have changed.
Antibiotics can’t cure infections caused by a virus, like:
- Most coughs and bronchitis
- Sore throat not caused by strep
- Runny nose
Your doctor can tell whether you have a bacterial or viral infection by doing a quick test, like a throat swab.
If you’re prescribed an antibiotic, take it as your doctor directs. Don’t stop taking it early, even if you feel better. You need to kill all of the bacteria to keep from getting sick again.
If you have a viral infection, these steps might help you feel better:
- Get lots of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which pain relievers are right for your child’s age and how much you should give them.
- Try over-the-counter cold or cough medicine (check if it’s OK for kids).
To learn more about using antibiotics safely, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s learning series, Get Smart.
If you’re having trouble affording your medicine, contact your doctor, your care coordinator, or our pharmacy department at 1-800-851-3379, option 4, to discuss your options and support and learn more about saving with generic drugs in Ask for Generics.