Making the decision to take medications for your depression can be a big decision and should be made with the input of a qualified psychiatric provider. Sometimes only one medication is enough, and sometimes multiple medications are needed to alleviate symptoms. It is important to note that medications for depression are often not “silver bullets,” and can also require psychotherapy and/or other supports.
Below you’ll find resources for talking with psychiatric medication providers, remembering to take meds, managing meds, and more.
Especially if you are taking multiple medications, it is important to keep an updated list of your medications with you. Medication tracker and reminder apps, such as Round Health and Medisafe, can help you keep an update list of medications in addition to pill reminders. Keeping an updated list of medications can help to prevent dangerous medication interactions and ensure that all of your providers are on the same page.
Pharmacies have varying prices for the same medication, so it may be difficult at times to have just one pharmacy. However, having only one pharmacy can reduce the likelihood of dangerous medication interactions that could occur if the pharmacy does not have your most updated medication list. Websites such as GoodRx and SingleCare can assist you in determining which pharmacy has the best prices for your medications.
At your annual visit with your primary care provider (or at a visit with your psychiatric medication provider), ask to review all of your medications to ensure they are all still necessary and to evaluate whether doses need to be changed.
Most providers ask about medication changes, but mistakes happen. Make sure to include as-needed medications as well that you may not take every day.
Many people stop taking medications because they may experience uncomfortable side effects. Instead of discontinuing the medication(s) altogether, which can be dangerous to your health, track your side effects and discuss them with your psychiatric provider. You can also be proactive and discuss potential side effects and how they could be addressed with your provider. There are many ways to work together to reduce or eliminate side effects, but make sure this is done safely with the aide of an experienced clinician.
If you are consistently forgetting to take medications, there are a number of options to try:
If you consistently forget to take your medications, bring them with you so you can take them on-the-go.
Pill boxes do not need to be large and bulky. These pill boxes can hold up to 8 medications and are compact (these erasable labels are helpful to label medications). This medication holder is very non-descript, visually appealing, & compact, and holds a 7-day supply of medication.
Pairing taking your medication with another habit can help to increase the likelihood of taking the medication. For instance, if you take your medications in the morning, try taking them after doing an already-established habit, such as brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or making coffee. Make sure the medication is located close to where you perform the habit so it is easy to take.
Check out the next section on managing medications for tips!
Consider a pill box where you can pour many/all pills into a compartment, such as these. You can label each compartment using an erasable label, in case you need to change around the configuration, or a label maker, such as this one.
Keeping on top of medication, especially multiple medications, can be very difficult. A few tricks include:
Call your pharmacy and make sure that all the medications that can be auto-filled are “on auto-fill” so that you don’t have to continue reaching out to the pharmacy when medications get low or run out.
Once you find a pharmacy that works for you, try to keep your medication at that pharmacy so that it is easier to manage refills and coordinate with the pharmacist if needed.
Contacting your provider or pharmacy well before to a prescription expires will ensure that you don’t miss doses. This is especially important for controlled medications such as benzodiazepines or stimulants, as you cannot put those on auto-refill.
It can be difficult to go to the pharmacy when it’s hard to simply get out of bed. If it is difficult for you to get to the pharmacy, see if they can deliver. Many pharmacies offer free delivery, and others are primarily delivery-based pharmacies, such as Capsule or Amazon Pharmacy. This can reduce barriers to taking medications consistently.
If it is difficult to keep track of how many medications you have left, ask your pharmacist to get them packaged in a “blister pack,” in which the medications are individually packaged, so you can keep better track of how many are left.
Amazon offers Pillpack, an online pharmacy and service in which medication is packaged into individual packs for different days of the week and times of day at no extra cost. Additionally, HeroHealth is a medication dispenser which dispenses daily medication and is connected to a pharmacy, which tracks when more medication is needed.
Managing care and medications can be very difficult, especially when you’re feeling exhausted and distressed. The following are ideas to try: