Taking your medication

Remember: Your medicine only works if you take it!

Treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease has to be taken regularly to prevent flare-ups and mantain remission of the condition. Although it can be hard to take medication every day, and you may be tempted to stop taking treatment sometimes -  remember that the risk for relapse can increase up to five times if you stop taking the medicine regularly.1

Problems taking your medication regularly?

Common issues with taking a medicine regularly include:

“My medicine isn’t working”
“I don't like the side effects”
“I can’t remember to take the medication”
“I have too many tablets to take”
“I don’t like taking tablets”

If you have any of these concerns, speak to your doctor. He or she will be able to help to adjust your treatment to help make life easier for you. Make sure that you have regular check-ups and that information about your treatment is always up-to-date. This will ensure that you get the best treatment for you when new and better options are available.

Tips for taking your medication regularly

  1. Remember taking your medication regularly can reduce the chance of a relapse or flare-up
  2. Treatment may take time to work so don't give up too soon
  3. Do not stop treatment once your symptoms go away. You need to keep taking your medicine to help keep your symptoms from coming back
  4. Read the information leaflets to understand how your treatment works and possible side effects to watch out for
  5. Do not:
  • Skip doses - even if you feel 'well'
  • Double up on doses if you miss a dose
  • Wean yourself off your medication(s) without your doctor’s approval

If you believe your medication regimen needs to change, speak with your doctor or other healthcare provider as soon as possible.

How to remember to take your medication regularly

Even with the best intentions, you may sometimes forget to take your medication. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Try setting the alarm on your mobile telephone or wristwatch
  • Time your medications around regular dailiy activities such as eating or sleeping
  • If something changes in your life, such as work, sport, when you have meals, etc., which affects your ability to take your medicine, discuss this with your doctor so any necessary adjustments can be made
  • Check the formulations - Some medicines are available in different formulations to make it easier for you to take. For example, if you find you have difficulty swallowing tablets, some medicines are available as granules or suppositories

Let your doctor know if you are finding it difficult to take your medication as prescribed.

References:
1: Kane, S., Huo, D., Aikens, J., and Hanauer, S. (2003). Medication nonadherence and the outcomes of patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis. Am. J. Med. 114, 39–43.

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