Six simple ways to stick to your medication schedule  

Six simple ways to stick to your medication schedule  

Having trouble sticking to a medication schedule? You’re not alone. These helpful tips can help keep you and your loved ones on track. 

A senior uses a pill organizer

With so many things to remember from day to day — birthdays, doctor appointments, bill due dates — it’s no wonder we sometimes slip up and forget to take our medicines. If you struggle to take your meds, it’s important to talk with your doctor. You can come up with solutions together. Here are six possible medication management strategies to try. 

1. Do a medication review 

Two-thirds of older adults rely on at least two prescription drugs, according to a 2020 poll done by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. And 2 out of 10 older adults regularly take at least 5 prescription meds.* 

However, up to 60 percent of drugs prescribed to seniors may not be necessary, reports a different 2020 study published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management.* That’s why it makes sense to talk to your doctors to find out whether you really need to keep taking all your current medications, or if something might have changed. For instance, maybe your health has improved enough to stop taking a drug, or perhaps one of your medicines is doing the job of two. 

A healthcare provider talking with her patient
Looking for an in-network provider? We can help!

2. Ask about cheaper options 

Just over 20 percent of Americans report that they haven’t taken a medication as prescribed at some point because of cost, according to a 2023 study published in JAMA Network Open.* 

You can check the cost of your medicines in the Aetna formulary, or drug list, at The formulary will tell you which tier your medicine is in.  

In general, the lower the tier, the less you pay. Once you know the tier and price, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the best, lowest-cost prescriptions for you — there may be a cheaper option in a different tier. 

Also, if you are taking any of your medicines long-term, ask your doctor about getting an up-to 100-day supply. This may help save you money as well as time, since you only refill your prescription once every three months. 

How can we help?   

We want to hear from you! What questions do you have about your plan coverage, benefits and services? What health information are you looking for? Your answers to this short member survey will help us give you the best support possible. Take the survey now

3. Let your doctor know about side effects 

Side effects, including headaches and nausea, can also keep people from taking their medicines.* If you’re having drug-related side effects, talk to your doctor. They may be able to change the dose or class of medications.  

4. Keep a medication chart 

There are plenty of smartphone apps and gadgets that can help you remember to take your meds. But a simple medication chart tacked to your fridge often does the trick. Write down when to take each medicine (morning, afternoon or night), the dose, and a quick reason why you are taking it. 

Need a local pharmacy?  

Visit enter your ZIP code to find a network pharmacy near you. 

5. Pick up a pill organizer 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that you use an organizer for all your medicines. Some pill organizers have sections for multiple doses at different times of day (such as morning or evening). Some even have timer functions, so they can remind you to take a dose. 

It’s also a good idea to place your pill organizer in a visible spot to jog your memory when you see it. Think about timing, too. If you need to take a drug with food, place it on the dinner table. For pills you need to take in the morning, put them in the bathroom next to your toothbrush, or in the kitchen beside the coffee pot. 

6. Choose the easiest form of medication 

If taking pills isn’t your favorite thing to do, you’re not alone: More than 30 percent of all adults find it hard to swallow pills.* One trick is taking medications with applesauce or yogurt. The added texture can make it easier for you to swallow. If that’s not working, ask your pharmacist or doctor if you can crush the pill or split it to make it smaller and easier to wash down. (It’s important to never crush a pill without asking your provider first. If the medication is extended release, you may get too much at once.) 

Another option is to take a liquid version, if it's available. If it's an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, you might try the children’s version. Just be sure to talk about it with your pharmacist first so they can help you figure out the conversion dose. 

Learn more about your medication coverage 

To learn more about your prescription benefits, visit your plan web page. You can visit this page at any time by typing in the URL or scanning the QR code on your member ID card. Once there, you can see your plan information, prescription coverage, benefits and more. 

Get your medications delivered to you  

Did you know your Aetna plan offers mail order delivery services of eligible prescription drugs, including a long-term supply, through CVS Caremark® Mail Service Pharmacy? Call Member Services at the number on your member ID card: 1-833-570-6670 (TTY: 711)

Best Customer 2023 Newsweek Award

Aetna is a recipient of the Newsweek Best Customer Service Award for 2023.* 


*FOR CLAIM THAT TWO-THIRDS OF OLDER ADULTS TAKE TWO OR MORE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Coe A, Farris K, Malani P. Clashing medications can put older adults at risk, but many haven’t had a pharmacist check for safety concerns. University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. October 2020. Accessed August 31, 2023.  

*FOR CLAIM THAT 60 PERCENT OF DRUGS OLDER ADULTS TAKE ARE UNNECESSARY: Rahman S, Singh K, Dhingra S, et al. The double burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and polypharmacy on geriatric population — public health implications. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. October 2020; 16: 1007-1022. Accessed August 31, 2023.  

*FOR CLAIM THAT 20 PERCENT OF OLDER AMERICANS DON’T TAKE PRESCRIPTIONS AS DIRECTED: Dusetzina SB, Besaw RJ, Whitmore CC, et al. Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence and Desire for Medication Cost Information Among Adults Aged 65 Years and Older in the US in 2022. JAMA Network Open. May 18, 2023; 6(5). Accessed August 31, 2023.  

*FOR SIDE EFFECTS CLAIM: Aremu TO, Oluwole OE, Adeyinka KO, et al. Medication Adherence and Compliance: Recipe for Improving Patient Outcomes. Pharmacy. August 2022, 10(5), 106. Accessed August 31, 2023.  

*FOR CLAIM ABOUT DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING PILLS: Radhakrishnan C, Forough AS, Cichero, JAY, et al.  A Difficult Pill to Swallow: An Investigation of the Factors Associated with Medication Swallowing Difficulties. Patient Preference and Adherence. January 2021; 15: 29–40. Accessed August 31, 2023.
*The 2023 Newsweek America's Best Customer Service rankings were identified from the results of an independent survey of more than 30,000 U.S. customers who have either made purchases, used services, or gathered information about products or services in the past three years. Customers evaluated several brands: in total over 200,000 evaluations were collected. The awarded brands each received on average 100 evaluations from customers. For more information visit

For language services, please call the number on your member ID card and request an operator. For other language services:  Español | 中⽂ | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog | Pусский | ةيبرعلا| | Kreyòl | Français | Polski | Português | Italiano | Deutsch | ⽇本語 | فارسی | Other languages…   

See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area. Participating health care providers are independent contractors and are neither agents nor employees of Aetna. The availability of any particular provider cannot be guaranteed, and provider network composition is subject to change. Other Pharmacies are available in our network. The formulary and/or pharmacy network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary. 

©2023 Aetna Inc.