Medication Adherence: Using Blister Cards to Track Side Effects

For many people, not taking medication as directed due to medication side effects begins in childhood. They don’t like how a medicine tastes and do their best to avoid chewing the pill or sipping the liquid from a dose cup. When bothersome side effects occur, we’re naturally tempted to stop taking the medication that causes them, or use less of it than prescribed. If we knew when side effects are likely to occur, how long they typically last, and how serious they are from a medical standpoint, it could give us a better perspective on the side effects, and help us endure them when doing so is advisable. Blister cards are a great tool for documenting the various side effects a patient experiences.

Using the blank, inside cover of a blister card to present side effect information can increase the chance of patients taking medication as directed. Below are a few examples of what might be important to document for patients.

  1. Time of Occurrence

Time of occurrence is important to document because some side effects tend to occur upfront and disappear over time. For example, some prescription pain medications are known to cause sedation initially but not in the long run. Documenting when side effects are likely to occur helps to keep them from blindsiding patients and interrupting the dosing regimen.

  1. Duration

Another important thing to document is the duration of any side effect. While some may seem serious, if the experience is short lived, it may still be beneficial to carry through with the prescription. One example might be dizziness or feeling light headed. This can be a serious side effect, but if it only lasts for a few seconds, and it occurs at the same time after dosage, a patient can make accommodations.

  1. Severity of the Side Effect

Like the health conditions they treat, medication side effects are commonly categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. However, what feels mild, moderate, or severe to a patient may be different than how a physician categorizes the side effect. Listing the severity of side effects according to physician’s recommendations supports medication adherence by informing patients of when a medication should be continued or discontinued concerning side effects.


Blister cards aren’t the only product pharmacies can use to help patients with medication adherence, but they can prove to be very helpful for monitoring side effects and helping patients take medication as directed by their physician.

To inquire about our blister card options and other products that support taking medication as directed, please call us today at (800) 325-6137, or use the contact form on our website.