A to Z Health Guide

6 Tips for Managing Your Medications When You're a Teen

Being a teenager is hard.  Dealing with kidney disease can make it feel even more challenging. You are probably taking at least one medication, maybe more. Remembering to take your medications every day and at the right time is not always easy.  It may seem as if the other parts of your life, like keeping up with your friends or schoolwork get in the way.  One way to help you feel your best is learning how to manage your medications. This will help you take your medications the right way and at the right times.   

Here are some tips to help:

Tip 1: Understand your medications

Remember those tests that ask you to read a passage and then remember what you understood? Using those same skills can help you understand your medications.

  • Read the labels on your prescription bottles.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider questions such as “Why am I taking these medications?” “What do they do?”  “What is the right way to take them?”
  • Know the answers to these questions for every medication you take.
  • Write all your medication information down so you can look at it later.  

Tip 2: Get into a routine

Just like you have a routine for getting to school on time and knowing when to go to your next class; create a routine for taking your medication.

  • Get into the habit of taking your medication when you first wake up, or at mealtime or bedtime.  
  • A routine will help you stay on track, so be sure to find times that fit into your lifestyle. 
  • Create a visual schedule to hang up on your wall or setting alarms on your cell phone to remind you when to take your medication. 
  • Check to see if your phone has an “app” that helps you keep track of your schedule.
  • Make it fun! Come up with a memory game or activity that will make the routine less boring.

Tip 3: Stay organized

 Knowing when assignments are due and which class you have homework in, needs your organizational skills. These same skills can help you stay organized and on track.

  • Always keep a fresh list of all the medications you take.
  • Your list should include its name (brand name or generic), how much you have to take when you have to take them, and reasons for taking the drug.
  • A pillbox can help you stay organized. There are all kinds of pill boxes; some weekly boxes have smaller compartments for each day so you can easily carry it in your bag or pocket. 

Tip 4: Educate yourself

The more effort you put into knowing something, the better your results will be; like studying for a test or researching information for an essay. This is also true for your medication routine.

  • Know all the side effects of every medication you take.
  • Write down any questions you have about your medications and the possible side effects that concern you.
  • Talk to your doctor and your family about these questions to help you understand.
  • Remember, knowing your body and how you feel will help you feel your best.

Tip 5: Communicate

Some days you may feel great; but on other days, not so much, and that’s okay. The easiest way to feel your best is to talk with those who can help you.

  • Pay attention to your body. If you notice that those bad days are getting worse, or you have too many bad days; let your parents or healthcare providers know about it. 
  • Don’t keep it to yourself.  If you experience a bad reaction to a drug or had one in the past, make sure you tell your healthcare provider.  
  • Don’t be afraid to let your healthcare team know if you are having a tough time taking your medications or finding a way to fit them into your lifestyle.  They have been working with young people a long time and may have some good suggestions to help you out. 

Tip 6: Ask a friend for support

You may not want everyone at school to know all your business, but it might be helpful to have one “bff” who has your back.  That person can:

  • Understand when you take your medications and know your routine.
  • Help you remember if you forget. 
  • Help you keep an eye out for side effects or if you are not acting like your normal self.

 

Everyone your age has something that they are self-conscious about (too fat, too short, too tall), so try not to feel alone.  Your needs might be different from your friends, but everyone has something.  Be proud of who you are and how much more you can manage than other people your age.  Taking your medications every day and on time may not seem easy at first, but with a little planning and support from your family, friends and healthcare team, managing your medications won’t feel so hard.

Date Reviewed: 
May 23, 2016

The information shared on our websites is information developed solely from internal experts on the subject matter, including medical advisory boards, who have developed guidelines for our patient content. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. No one associated with the National Kidney Foundation will answer medical questions via e-mail. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.