Managing Medication for People with Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disorder that occurs when the body is unable to produce or use insulin effectively on its own.1 Treatment plans for people with diabetes depend on whether you are afflicted with with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This medication management guide is designed to empower those with diabetes, and their caregivers and families with information to help care for themselves or their loved ones. Always be sure to verify any information with a trusted healthcare professional or pharmacist before beginning treatment.
The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes do not produce a hormone called insulin and thus must take supplementary insulin to help their body’s cells absorb glucose and use energy.1 Self-monitoring can help the person decide when it is best to take insulin. Often, people with type 1 diabetes will need insulin several times throughout the day and before/after meals. Unlike those suffering from type 1 diabetes, individuals with type 2 diabetes can manage their disorder with a combination of exercise, healthy eating, and oral medications in addition to insulin.2 Treatment will depend on what your doctor recommends and is likely to change over time. While many people who have type 2 diabetes reach their target blood sugar levels through diet and exercise alone, they may also require diabetes medication or insulin therapy.3 Type 2 diabetics may be prescribed medications other than insulin, such as metformin, and oral diabetes medication that helps to control blood sugar.
7 Practical Tips for Diabetes Medication Management
When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes – type 1 or type 2 – it might feel a bit overwhelming. How will you remember to take daily medications or insulin? Fortunately, you’re not the first, and there are many established tips and tricks to help you to integrate them into your life.4 Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, or are simply ready to commit to a better plan for managing your diabetes medications, here are some guidelines to help.
1. Associate your medication with another part of your daily routine
One of the best tips for taking daily medications is to connect your medication time to another part of your regular daily routine. For example, if you need to take medication or test your insulin levels in the morning, associate that action with brushing your teeth, or with brewing your morning coffee. This way, when you engage in that normal activity, the action will trigger your memory to remember that it’s also time to take your medication or test your insulin levels.
2. Keep your medications visible
They say, “out of sight, out of mind” for a reason. Keep your diabetes medications in a high-traffic area of your home. Don’t keep them hidden away in your medicine cabinet if you forget to take them when they’re there. Keep your medication bottles or insulin testing kit on your bedside table or on a nook in your kitchen because seeing them will help you remember. Most insulin requires refrigeration, so designate a highly visible spot in your refrigerator for storage. Insulin syringes can be left in visible spots as well, but these, like medications, should always be kept out of the reach of children.
3. Create reminders
The forgetful know that daily reminders can be helpful. Create an alarm on your phone, put a sticky note on your fridge, or make a medication list so you know exactly what medications you need for that day. If you have an Apple Watch or other smart watch, you can easily set these recurring reminders to alert you throughout the day. If you continue to struggle with remembering to monitor your insulin, a wearable, continuous glucose monitoring aid, like the FreeStyle Libre can be worn on the back of the upper arm.
4. Ask for help when you need it
No one said you need to do it alone. Ask friends, family members, or caregivers to help you manage medication. They can give you a phone call, help you fill your pillbox, or run to the pharmacy and pick up medication for you when it’s time for a refill.
5. Use a pillbox
When you’re taking multiple different medications each day, handling several pill bottles can cause confusion over which medications you have already taken. Some people miss doses or take an extra dose because of this confusion. Pillboxes are inexpensive and effective because you can fill the compartments with the medication you need to take each day (some even have separate compartments for morning, midday, and evening medicines).
6. Set up automatic refill
If you find you’re constantly running out of medication, setting up automatic refill with your pharmacy can help eliminate this issue. You may not be able to tell how many pills are left in your bottle or how many days’ supply of insulin is left in the vial, but your pharmacy can easily count the days for you.
7. Request blister-packs
If you find that you struggle to remember if you’ve already taken medication that day, see if your pharmacy can fill your medicine in blister-packs for medications in pill form. These packs are labeled with times of days and days of the week, so you’ll be able to see if you’ve already taken your pill or not. Although often more expensive, it’s highly effective. This medication guide is just one of many resources to help you adjust to life with diabetes. Continue to discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider and don’t hesitate to reach out to those around you for support when you need it.
Save on Diabetes Medications
Diabetes medication costs continue to rise; affording everything you need to properly treat this disease may be financing overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to save big on diabetes medications. America’s Pharmacy negotiates lower prices on behalf of millions of Americans and pass those savings along to its users. Find free diabetes medication coupons, download the prescription savings app, or get a prescription discount card to start saving today.