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Tips for Taking Medicines for Schizophrenia

Medicine is an effective treatment for schizophrenia, but sometimes you may have a hard time taking your medicine. You may have trouble because:

  • You have severe side effects

  • You don't believe you are sick

  • You feel better and think you no longer need medicine

  • You forget to take your medicine because of confused thinking or depression

  • You have a drug or alcohol problem that gets in the way

  • You don't want to be reminded that you have a mental health problem and taking medicine every day reminds you

For the best effect, always take your medicine the way your healthcare provider has suggested. If you are thinking about changing, reducing, or stopping your medicine, talk with your healthcare provider first. If you stop taking your medicine on your own and all at once, it is likely that you will have a relapse. If you are having trouble taking your medicine or feel you don't need to take it, talk with your healthcare provider. They will have many ideas that will be helpful. They can tell you about other medicines that may work or change the dose to one that has fewer side effects.

If you are interested in stopping your medicines, your healthcare provider will listen and work with you to do this in a way that is safe. If you and your healthcare team decide you will stop or change medicines, your healthcare provider will want to check in with you on a regular basis. You may need to go to a hospital while you are changing or stopping medicines.

Remembering to take medicines each day can be tough. Here are some things you can do to make it easier to take your medicines so they can be most effective.

Get a shot

Ask your healthcare provider about long-acting medicines that are given by shot (injected). You can get a shot every week or every few weeks. This may be a good choice because:

  • You have a set day and time to get the shot.

  • Your healthcare team knows right away if you don't take the medicine, because you don't show up for the shot.

  • The medicine from shots stays in your body longer, so if you are a little late getting a shot, you have some time to get help before your symptoms return.

  • You are not reminded every day that you have a mental health problem.

  • You don't have to remember to take pills every day or carry pills with you.

Set a routine

  • If you need to take medicine every day, it helps to have a daily routine. Make a schedule for taking your medicines and follow it every day.

  • Identify things you do every day at the same time, such as brushing your teeth. Use these activities to help remind you to take your medicines.

  • Set your watch or phone alarm or a kitchen timer to remind you to take your medicines. Or ask a family member to help you remember to take your medicines.

Use a pillbox

  • Use a plastic pillbox with dividers for each day's medicines. There are many different types of pillboxes. Some are small with just a few compartments, some have many compartments, and some have timers you can program. Choose one that fits your needs.

  • Put your pillbox in a place where it will remind you to take your medicines. For example, if you need to take medicine 3 times a day with meals, put those medicines in a pillbox near where you eat.

  • If you use a pillbox, keep 1 pill in its original bottle. Then if you forget what a pill is for, you can find the bottle it came from. 

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 3/1/2019
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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