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Tracking Meds & Their Effects

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(apologies if this should be in a different forum, I wasn't quite sure where to put it)

Many users here take multiple medications for MI. Many if not most of us have not found the first med we tried (or second or third or...) to work - or it did work, but the side effects were unacceptable.

I want to encourage everyone to keep track of what meds they've taken, for how long, at what dosages, the prescribing Dr and (importantly) your overall thoughts on their effects. While our pdocs do keep this information in our charts, it is to our benefit to have our own notes on it. That lets us educate other pdocs we might work with and be knowledgeable ourselves about our history. MI can impact our memory and once you get past a certain number of meds it can be hard to remember the details.

PsychMedHistorySS.thumb.png.a4fc768b2449b153f57c17ce1be0cbdc.pngI have two files that I keep this information in, both are Excel spreadsheets. The first is my psych med history. Here's a screenshot of part of it. You can see I list the max dose I tried as well as the dates I took it, who prescribed it (deleted from the screenshot for confidentiality), and so on.

This file has multiple tables divided out by purpose of the med, so there are also tables lower down for sleep, ADHD, other meds (e.g. cogentin, deplin, etc.), and other treatments (TMS, ECT & ketamine). I also have a section on hospitalizations (dates I was IP, which hospital, and I recently added a column with my thoughts/reflections on the stay, so I can remember for future why I will NOT go to a certain hospital again). At the bottom of the document I have "last updated on <date>" 

The other file I have is new, I only recently created it. It is meant to complement the history file, not replace it. I was realizing that it is hard to look at the history tables and see what was taken concurrently and where the hospitalizations occurred relative to other med trials. I created a second spreadsheet where I divided out each med by class and show it as a horizontal bar (merged cells). Each column in this spreadsheet is roughly equivalent to a week, with 4 weeks/month (meaning 48 weeks per year, but I was unwilling to figure out which months had 5 weeks in which years, I decided this was accurate enough). From this screenshot, you can see how easy it is to see what was going on for me in 2015/2016.


This is a rather geeky approach to data management. However it has been highly beneficial. I printed out this second chart (landscape orientation, to maximize how much fits per page) and brought it to my pdoc the other day - she absolutely loved it. 

If you don't have all the information, don't despair! Most pharmacies will allow you to download prescription records going back 12-24 months, or even longer if you so desire. You can use look for posts you made here about med changes you were considering. You can even talk to your doctor(s) about getting a list of meds/doses they've had you try. Your charts don't have to be complete (mine aren't, and I've been tracking in some way for years - for example, pretty sure I was on Ambien for longer than shown in the screenshot above), but having some data is better than none.

Feel free to reply here or PM me if you want help setting up your own record keeping charts.

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