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Are You Taking Your Medications the Right Way?

Have you missed a dose of prescribed medication here or there? Well, you’re not the only one. In fact, 45-55% of adults stop taking their medications as prescribed at some point. Unfortunately, this can affect how the medication is working, especially if you are treating a chronic illness.1  Below, we explore some of the reasons why it’s important to take your medications as prescribed and some other interesting facts about medications.

Why Do People Stop Taking Medications As Prescribed?

There are several reasons why people aren’t taking their medications as prescribed:

1. They fear potential side effects.

2. They don’t believe they needed the medication.

3. They did not see the benefits of the medication and believed it wasn’t helping.

4. Their symptoms went away, or they felt better.

5. Their prescription was making them feel sick.

And while doctors confirmed these reasons, they added some interesting reasons why their patients weren’t taking their medicine:

6. Their patients could not afford all of their medications.

7. Their patients were taking so many medications that it became hard for them to take them all correctly.

8. And finally, their patients thought they knew what was better for their bodies than the doctor.

Why Does Drug “Non-compliance” Matter?

First, let’s define “drug non-compliance.” The term “drug non-compliance” describes not taking medications as they are prescribed.

Drug non-compliance is not only dangerous, it’s incredibly expensive. Take a look at these numbers:

Heart attack survivors (66+ years) who did not take their cholesterol lowering drugs as prescribed increased their rate of death after 2.5 years by 25 percent.35 percent of people with schizophrenia that did not take their medicines as prescribed had to be hospitalized compared to 14 percent of people that did.Although it is hard to get an exact number, the financial impact of drug non-compliance (by extending illnesses, creating extra medical costs and missing work) is often estimated by drug companies as $100 billion per year.

Before deciding not to take your prescriptions, talk to your doctor. If the reason is financial, you can also talk to your insurance company or insurance agent to find out ways to lower your prescription costs.

Tips to Taking Medications As Prescribed

Here are some quick tips for remembering to take your medications, courtesy of the American Heart Association:

Take your medications at the same time. Take them while doing other daily events, like putting on deodorant. Ask someone to remind you, or set up an alarm just for your medications. Use a divided pill box that marks the days of the week. Try using a “medicine calendar.” You can mark it each day (and the time when) you take your medicines. You could even use a white erase board.Leave a reminder sticky note on your refrigerator, mirror, or front door.

What About Antibiotics?

Did you know that not taking your antibiotics correctly could lead to “antibiotic resistance”? Because you aren’t completely killing the bacterial infection by not finishing an antibiotic, living bacteria become resistant to antibiotic treatment. So, take your full course of prescribed antibiotics and don’t skip dosages. You may feel better before the course is over, but some of the infecting bacteria could still be around.

Should You Be Concerned With Drug Interactions?

Because large numbers of drugs are regularly introduced, drug (RX) interactions are increasingly common. Although they are rarely a case for concern, if you are taking more than one medication, it is possible to encounter a negative interaction between the multiple drugs. Click here to see some common drug interactions.

In order to avoid negative drug interactions, bring all of the medications (prescription and over the counter) into the doctor’s office with you. Your physician can review your current regimen against medications they would prescribe and avoid any harmful interactions.

Get Your Prescriptions at a Reasonable Price With Health Insurance

Don’t let a lack of coverage keep you from protecting your health. The right plan could help you save money and keep your medicine cabinet stocked.


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