3 Essential Tips for Medication Management During COVID-19

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

As the pandemic continues to disrupt routines and create new challenges, it’s important to pay attention to one of the key determinants of overall health: medication adherence. Staying compliant with your medications has never been more important than it is today. Chronic conditions, especially if unmanaged, may raise your risk for COVID-19 infection and complications. Plus, every visit to a hospital or ill visit to your doctor’s office could put you at higher risk of exposure to the virus. Despite the many changes we’re all experiencing as a result of the coronavirus, you should consider medication management a critical part of your plan to stay safe. Here are some key ways to ensure you’re staying adherent to your medication regimen.
  1. Ask your provider to order early refills for your ongoing medications.
    If you generally use insurance for your medications, your health plan may limit the timeframes for ordering refills. For example, for a typical 30-day prescription, providers often are not permitted to order refills until day 24. Last month, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) issued a statement requesting that health plans relax these requirements in order to enable patients to keep extra medications on hand during the pandemic. Many plans have begun to implement more flexibility as a result. At the state level, some officials have issued policies allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency refills.

    As a reminder, never wait until your last dose, or until your medications have run out, to request a refill or make a plan to pick up your prescription. Many medications require a consistent, specific blood level in order to work effectively. Others have a critical acute effect, such as insulin, and missing a dose could have immediate, serious impacts. No matter which medication you take, be sure to be proactive in making a plan of action to ensure you don’t run out. If you are concerned about your prescriptions running out, ask your pharmacist for help.
  2. If you can’t get to the pharmacy, you have options.
    Kroger Health has implemented several new services, and enhanced existing ones, to help ensure you can still receive your prescriptions without putting yourself at risk. This includes waiving all fees related to prescription delivery, offering online pay and refill requests via My Prescriptions, and implementing walk-up and curbside services at many store locations. In addition, you can take advantage of services like Sync Up, which allows you to refill all your prescriptions in one visit, or 90-day fills, which provides a 3-month’s supply of the medications you take on a regular basis.
  3. Keep your medications a part of your changing routine.
    The most important part of medications is taking them appropriately. While your schedule may be changing under the current pandemic and your life may seem out of sorts, it is important to make sure you work your medications into your new routines. If you are having trouble remembering your medications, you can use reminders such as using a pill box or setting an alarm on your phone to alert you when it is time to take your medicines. Ask your pharmacist if you are struggling to remember your medicine or if you have any other questions or concerns.

Even before COVID-19, medication adherence was important (and challenging). Now, more than ever, it’s time to have a conversation with your pharmacist or doctor about how to stay safe and stocked up. For more questions to ask your pharmacist during the pandemic, click here.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.