Medication non-adherence is when you do not take a medicine as prescribed. Some examples of this include:
Chronic conditions, like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, are commonly treated with drug therapy. Unfortunately, statistics show that a low percentage of Americans with chronic conditions take their medicines as prescribed.
This can result in serious consequences. For example, your condition could worsen, leading to more intense treatment, more medicines, and even hospitalization. Medication non-adherence can also be a financial burden since it may cause you to have more doctor appointments and more costly prescriptions. In extreme cases, not taking your medicine can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death.
There are many reasons why people do not take their medicines. Here are some common reasons and ways to counter these concerns.
Make an appointment to talk to your doctor. Write down any questions you have. Make sure you are clear about:
Your pharmacist is another resource. Ask him about your medicine, possible drug interactions, and side effects.
Your doctor can explain which side effects are common and what you should do if you have any problems. For example, if the medicine causes you to feel excitable, you may need to call your doctor right away. Knowing the potential side effects and how to handle them can help ease your fears.
Before you decide not to take the medicine because it is too costly, explore your options:
Some conditions do not have symptoms that you notice. But that does not mean your health is fine! In other cases, the symptoms go away because of the medicine. So if you were to stop taking it, your symptoms would return.
If you are not sure how the medicine works in your body or why you are taking it, talk to your doctor. It is important to understand the purpose of the medicine and what could happen if the condition goes untreated.
There are a number of strategies to try:
If you are facing challenges when it comes to taking your medicine, get help from your doctor and pharmacist! The steps that you take now to care for your chronic condition can have a huge impact on the rest of your life.