Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tracking Your Medicines

A few years ago, I realized I was already taking a variety of supplements and some prescription drugs. I started tracking what I was taking, so I would always have a quick record for my doctor. Also, I'd always know what drugs did work and what didn't work for me.

I found it easiest to track this information in an Access database. However, I thought I'd share the list with others, and many people don't have Access. So I also created an .rtf table, that can be read in Word and other word processors. You can download the files from the links below and adapt the database or word processing table any way you want.

The drug history, if you maintained this information in Access, would have this general format:

Drug History (pdf)

Tracking Your Medicines in Access

This is a pretty simple Access database. It's written in Access 2003, but uses only tables, queries and reports, so it could probably be read in older versions of Access. The database does not have a forms-based data-entry screen, enter the drug information directly in the data table.

mydruglist.sample.mdb (Access file)

When you open up the database, click on the tables option to display the data tables:

o druglistblank
o druglistsample

druglistblank is an empty database table. You can open it and just start entering drug data. druglistsample is a database table with sample data. The tables are the same; one has sample data and one does not.

Here are the fields in these tables:

ID - an auto-numbered identifier field. You can ignore it.
Date Added - a date field that defaults to the current date
Drug Name - the name of the drug
Type - prescription drug, over the counter drug, supplement
Dose - recommended dosage
How Often You Take It - the possible values are Daily, Occasionally, Post-op, Stopped Taking It. Record how frequently you take the drug.
Date Started Taking It - when you first took the drug
Prescribing Doctor - who prescribed it for you.
Notes - What you're taking the drug for, if you had any side effects, why you stopped taking it (if appropriate)

I think it's best to sort this information so that the drugs you are currently taking always sort to the top of the report. So I've written a query to sort the information in this way. Display the queries:

o drugblank
o drugsample

drugblank is the query that sorts your information from the druglistblank table. drugsample is the query that sorts the sample data in the druglistsample table. The default sort field is the "How Often You Take It" field. When you run the query, the drugs you take every day will sort to the top of the query table, followed by the drugs you take occasionally, followed by the drugs you've taken after surgery or hospitalization, followed by the drugs you've taken in the past but do not take anymore.

Finally, display the reports:

o drugblankreport
o drugsamplereport

drugblankreport creates a report based on your information in the druglistblank table.
drugsamplereport creates a report based on the sample information in the druglistsample table.

Open the drugblankreport to see your information. At the top of the page, you'll see YOUR NAME, BIRTHDATE. Delete those strings and enter your name and your birthdate.

Tracking Your Medicines in a Word Table

Download mydruglist.blank.rtf. After you've downloaded it, you can enter information directly into the table. You should save the modified table under a new name, so you'll always have a blank table available online. Be sure to add your name and your birthdate to the top of the file.

There's a government site with a recommended text file for collecting medical information. AARP also has information on collecting drug and medical information.

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