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Need your Tips for Taking Oral Hormonal Meds as Prescribed !

Remembering to take your medications can be difficult. Are there any strategies that helped your remember to take your pills as prescribed?"

Beyond simply forgetting, there can be other more complex reasons for missing medications, such as out-of-pocket costs, problems with side effects, not wanting a daily reminder of having cancer, doubting whether the medication is even working, not wanting to take yet another pill, etc. Did you face any of these issues, and if so, how did you overcome them?

Thank you for sharing!

p.s. this is to help us in creating a new content piece on adherence to medication.



  • scrafgal
    scrafgal Member Posts: 412
    edited July 2019

    Take them at a time of day where you have the most control. For me, that's the morning, before I get all engaged with work. At night, I am tired and would forget or fall asleep before remembering...

    Use your alarm on your cell phone. I set an initial reminder in the morning and another one, just before Noon, just in case I forgot...this comes in handy on vacations where your routine is thrown off.

  • GreenHarbor
    GreenHarbor Member Posts: 187
    edited July 2019

    Anastrazole has been reported to cause/aggravate insomnia when taken at night, so I take mine in the morning. I keep it next to my tea bags, so I see it first thing each morning. All my side effects so far have been related to lack of estrogen: drier skin, some minor thinning of my hair and horrible hot flashes. My MO started me on a low dose of Effexor, which is an antidepressant also used for anxiety and panic issues. It has worked really well. I had a DEXA scan last summer, which showed mild osteopenia. I'm increasing my calcium intake and weight bearing exercise. I will have another DEXA scan in the summer of 2020 (two years after the last one). At that point, if the osteopenia has worsened, my MO and I will discuss osteoporosis meds.

  • GlobalGal
    GlobalGal Member Posts: 29
    edited July 2019

    My pharmacist and the AI bottle warned of 'dizziness', so I decided to take my daily oral med when I was safely seated on the sofa watching evening TV at 9:00 pm (and not walking about or driving). As far as insomnia goes, I am sleeping like a rock. I figure any medication side effects are happening while I am asleep.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,926
    edited July 2019

    It's just another pill to take. I take mine after supper with another pill. No drama necessary.

  • scrafgal
    scrafgal Member Posts: 412
    edited July 2019

    Before BC, the only pill I took was a multivitamin..If I missed it no big deal...but if I forget the hormonal therapy pill...really big deal for me. So, I did need to establish some safeguards for myself.

  • beaverntx
    beaverntx Member Posts: 2,962
    edited July 2019

    I set up pill cases for my various pills for two weeks at a time. Tamoxifen goes in the evening meal compartment as my pharmacist recommended taking it with the evening meal. Have some insomnia which may or may not be related to Tamoxifen. Side effects have been generally tolerable and are somewhat cyclical as they come and go.

  • MDRR
    MDRR Member Posts: 63
    edited July 2019

    every night when preparing for bed, I set the bottle on the bathroom sink with my 'morning stuff'. once i take the pill in the morning, I move the bottle off the sink.

  • Michelle_in_cornland
    Michelle_in_cornland Member Posts: 1,233
    edited July 2019

    I believe that mindset is important during the journey of anti hormonals. “You do the meds, don't let the meds do you." Ownership is a powerful tool.I take mine at night and it helps me sleep. Third year of Tamoxifen and going strong!!

  • Artista964
    Artista964 Member Posts: 376
    edited July 2019

    i forget things. So the med bottles are right in front of me when I get up. I know i still forget but it's the only way. Alarm is good, if you remember to set it.

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,001
    edited July 2019

    I take them the same time every day - my AI with a calcium/D3 before bed, another calcium/d3 with other vitamins, claritin + aspirin after breakfast.

    I use a pill organizer to make sure I am not forgetting a day. And I keep a dose of the day time calcium in my bag in a little pill box for days that I am out of the house early in the morning.

  • godisone
    godisone Member Posts: 30
    edited July 2019

    I have set alarm reminders for the time i need to take my medicines and viola i never forget them. yes, sometimes the medicines are expensive but after paying the house rent and EMI for the car, the first thing i do is to buy medicines.the groceries can wait. also, because i have grown some veggies in my backyard so i have reduced worrying for the meals a little.i have seen those cute medicine boxes where you can keep your medicine and then you never forget to take your medicine.or rather take them twice, but reminder thing has worked perfectly for me.

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 546
    edited July 2019

    I take my tamoxifen in the morning while getting ready for work. I'm very routine with it, lol, take it right before blow-drying my hair. Once or twice I couldn't remember if I had taken it, so, since you are supposed to take it with a full glass of water, I take it then leave the Tervis tumbler on my nightstand. So when I get anxious and can't remember if I took it, I text my husband to find out if there's a slightly damp cup on the nightstand. He works from home so he can check for me. :-)

  • traii
    traii Member Posts: 379
    edited July 2019

    Morning didn't work for me! The rush of getting ready for work and my son for school. I'd keep forgetting or thought I'd forgot but didnt! The side effects werent working for me during the day either so I took control & found night time before bed is what works best for me, plus the bonus of sleeping off the side effects of my other tablets I have to take with my hormonal!

    So hormonal tablet first, then a little later my other tablets.

  • ingerp
    ingerp Member Posts: 1,514
    edited July 2019

    I was one who prided myself on taking zero pills before my dx. I've added a couple of supplements since starting the AI, and I do think it's easier when you have several pills to take at the same time. I don't eat breakfast, so take them all with lunch (my first meal of the day). I'd heard about some potential sleep impacts with the AI, had read quite a few recommendations to take it with food, plus I'm fortunate to work from home, so it's part of my lunch prep routine (most days I turn on the wee frying pan for my scrambled egg, take my meds, cook my egg, and bingo!).

    Just re: motivation to stick with it, I've posted on other forums about a general BC conversation I had with my BS at a post-op appointment. He said anti-hormonals have "the biggest bang for the buck" in terms of preventing recurrence, and that was confirmed for my particular dx with an online calculator. When I see that the AI is more important for me than chemo was, it's a pretty serious motivator to keep up with it.

  • pingpong1953
    pingpong1953 Member Posts: 272
    edited July 2019

    Sleeping like a rock! I wish I could say the same thing!

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 740
    edited July 2019

    Vitamins in the morning, prescriptions in the evening.

    When I was taking the weekly Vitamin D I did have to set an alarm on the phone as I could never remember what day of the week I last took it.

    The calculator for me I get like 3% or 7% added benefit. There are days I want to flush those little white pills down the toilet! However, I read on my of my latest reports that my lifetime risk is greater than 21%. I really hate trying to learn all these different statistics! Also, my MO didn't prescribe it just to torture me, so I take it. Keep moving is key. I feel so much better after exercise/even just walking or doing house work. It's unfortunate that I have a desk job. I am still working on getting on even keel/routine of how much moving I will benefit from to stop being miserable. #workinprogress

  • findingoptimism
    findingoptimism Member Posts: 31
    edited July 2019

    To assure I take them I bought a weekly pill holder and take the pills in the morning (and I am still bitter that I have to take any pills now). The pill holder gives a visual cue in case I have forgotten. When I first started taking them, perhaps for the first 3-4 months, I kept a log of the side effects each day. This was helpful in 2 ways: first, I could track that some of the side effects lessened which encouraged me; second, I had a good list to discuss with my doctor and look up on the boards (which are honestly more helpful than my doctor for side effects).

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 546
    edited July 2019

    for those who take their tamoxifen at night, how in the world do you not have to wake up to pee at like midnight after drinking a full cup of water?? I must have a tiny bladder, lol

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,671
    edited August 2019

    Pill containers work to remind people. You can set alarms as a reminder as well. I live with a transplant patient so meds are always taken at same interrvals all the time or it can cause rejection. Taking oral meds at same time is easy if you set a routine that works for you.

  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,409
    edited August 2019

    I use a Fitbit alarm as my nightly reminder and now it’s just a habit, take pills, brush teeth, do lymph system related stretches, go to sleep.

    Aside from that, I’m committed to doing my part in treatment, docs have their job, this is mine.

  • pajim
    pajim Member Posts: 930
    edited August 2019

    The best thing I did for myself, back in the tamoxifen and letrozole days, was to sign up with a mail order pharmacy with auto-renewal. That way every 90 days the new pill bottle just "showed up". I didn't have to order it or fetch it. Those were hurdles for me.

  • Daylightdancer666
    Daylightdancer666 Member Posts: 30
    edited August 2019


    I take a lot. Of tablets for pain relief anyway so wasn't much of a bother however when I started. Them by time. I got. Prescription it was before tea time and was on another chemo based drug precliobib or something and you had eat with it so putting them two together in had it at evening tea time. Though stopped thst chemo based one kept. At same. Time., I also have like a lost. Of. Medicines written down morning lunch time tea and bed and fill. I'm when taken xx

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 199
    edited August 2019

    I have one of those weekly pill dispensers with a compartment for each day of the week. It's just part of my morning routine. Every now and then I get to work and remember I forgot to take it. It's probably not a huge deal to miss it now and then, but I now keep an extra dose in my purse so I can take it at work instead of waiting until the next day.

  • axolotl
    axolotl Member Posts: 11
    edited August 2019

    I take Aromasin, which is given to me in a blister pack. I write the days of the week (abbreviated M T W, etc.) on each blister so that I can see that I've taken it. I also take a calcium supplement prescribed by my oncologist. That's in a bottle, so I use a sharpie to write the day of the week after taking it.

  • PhoenixCruiser
    PhoenixCruiser Member Posts: 57
    edited August 2019

    I use a refillable weekly pill container.

  • chelseasculler
    chelseasculler Member Posts: 29
    edited August 2019

    I keep a cookie tin of bottles by my bed and take them at night (that sounds like a lot of bottles, but it's really just the Tamox and vit D and random other occasional pills like asprin. The cookie tin is because I hate looking at all the bottles, makes me feel like a sick person when they're sitting on the counter or even in the daily plastic boxes.). That way I don't have to make the decision to get out of bed if I forget them until I'm falling asleep... I had a bit of issue with sleep when I started Tamox, but it's fine now. I keep my bedroom dark and use an eye mask as well. If I do wake up in the middle of the night, I keep the lights off, go to the bathroom, take a sip of water, and usually fall right back asleep. I also have 'take pills' in my habits app, Strides, so I have a visual reminder of how I'm doing.

  • LEIGH57
    LEIGH57 Member Posts: 3
    edited August 2019

    I never took daily pills before my diagnosis so I bought an old lady "days of the week" pill box to keep me on track with Arimidex and supplements.

  • LindsayT
    LindsayT Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2019

    mine is to take right before bed. Also helps that I have to take sleeping pills along with my hormone pill

  • janeqpoppy
    janeqpoppy Member Posts: 28
    edited August 2019

    I take some other medications, but I take Arimidex by itself. When I go to bed, I put a travel mug (with cover*) of ice water on my dresser, and stand the pill bottle on top of it. When I get up to pee usually around 3 am, I take the Arimidex pill with the lovely cold water, and then stand the bottle UPSIDE DOWN on the dresser away from the mug. When I wake up in the morning for real, there's no need to wonder if I took it, as I see the upside down bottle.

    Sometime during the day, when I'm in the bedroom for some other reason, I turn the bottle upright in the spot where I will stand the mug of water that night. Rinse and repeat. I've followed this procedure for four years and have never missed a pill. (I don't travel anywhere, so not sure how I'd do this if I were on a European tour. I'd probably follow the same procedure.)

    I also use a mail-order pharmacy (Express-Scripts) for Arimidex and the other stuff I take. The pills arrive in the mail like clockwork, and I usually have a month or two ahead. Very convenient!

    *The reason I use a glass/mug/container with a cover is the following: Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to keep a glass of water next to the bed uncovered. One morning I woke up and there was a giant, dead cockroach floating in the water! EWWW! That was 47 years ago, but I learned my lesson in one take. No more uncovered water glasses next to the bed.


  • C_Penguinis
    C_Penguinis Member Posts: 4
    edited September 2019

    Hi! I've been taking my medication right when I get home. It's my ritual and it's been working fine, except when I decide to delay it a bit more, or when I dine out right after work. Just a couple of nights ago I couldn't remember if I had taken it! Luckily I hadn't, but I've been finding that taking Letrozole has affected my short term memory. I'd suggest setting an alarm in your phone