Support to Take Medication As Prescribed
We understand that there are many reasons why someone might not take their medication as prescribed by their doctor and are here to help. Whether it is due to side effects, affordability, or not understanding the medication treatment we’ve got you covered. Life can be hectic and sometimes people even just forget.
Here are some tips to remember to take your medication:
- Set an alarm or phone reminder to take your medication (you may want a second reminder set for later in the day just in case you are busy during the first)
- Get free text reminders sent to you from TheSexYouWant.ca – available at https://thesexyouwant.ca/reminder/
- Time your medication with a regular activity in the day (caution with timing with meals if you need to take your specific medication on an empty stomach or with food)
- Have a calendar and cross out the day when you take your medication in case you are worried about taking it again
- Always consider having a back-up method to remind you
- A week or more before travelling check to see if you have enough medication for your trip plus additional in case of delays
- We offer a FREE weekly medication organizer (dosettes) at our pharmacy that you can put your medication into each week
- We can package your medication into 100% recyclable organized packs for you that include your HIV treatment as well as any other medications, over the counter items, and vitamins you are taking (there is no additional fee for the packaging service)
- Sign up for our FREE auto-fill service and we can remind you when your medication is due, let you know when you are out of refills, contact your doctor for refills, and ship out medication to your door before you run out of medication
If you are experiencing symptoms and are concerned it might be due to your medication it is important to speak with The PrEP Clinic Pharmacists and your doctor. Many medications may have side effects early on but often get better or go away in time (usually the first few weeks). Always remember that any severe or highly concerning symptoms should be addressed as soon as possible by seeking immediate medical attention (eg. local hospital).
Some side effects can be due to drug interactions which can usually be resolved, or your medication may need to be switched altogether by your prescriber to something you better tolerate. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your medication regimen.
If you are paying out of pocket for any medication related expenses and it is a challenge check out our page on Coverage Help. You can also schedule a video discussion with a pharmacist on our app or visit us during our on-site pharmacy hours (if in the Toronto area). We are available by phone, email, or text 7 days a week as well.
Understanding Your Medication
It is important to take your medication as prescribed – whether it is for HIV or any other medical condition. Regularly missing doses or stopping HIV treatment can reduce the effectiveness of medication, increase the risk of medication resistance, increase the risk of transmission, and can have negative short and long term health outcomes. Even if your medication has suppressed the virus and/or you have reached an undetectable status, stopping medication will result in the viral load to increase again.
Studies have been performed to determine if medication could possibly be taken less frequently (ie. 4 days a week). While some are promising, at this time it is recommend to take your medication every day as prescribed unless advised otherwise by your HIV specialist.
We will soon be seeing an injectable form of HIV treatment being released that will provide an option for some instead of daily oral medication. This medication combination would be injected into muscle (intramuscular/IM) with a long-acting formulation.
Drug manufacturers have been evaluating the use for once a month or once every 60 days injections. Some additional information is available here: https://www.gsk.com/en-gb/media/press-releases/viiv-healthcare-reports-positive-phase-iii-study-results-of-investigational-long-acting-injectable-hiv-treatment-regimen-administered-every-two-months/
**Cabenuva was just approved by Canada for once monthly injections: https://viivhealthcare.com/en-gb/media/press-releases/2020/march/viiv-healthcare-announces-first-global-regulatory-approval-of-ca/