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Did You Know Not Taking Your Medication As Directed Can Be Dangerous To Your Health?

Posted August 25, 2022 by Tiffanie Mrakovich, Pharm.D.

When you’re prescribed medication, missing a dose or two seems like no big deal, right? Wrong. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medication non-adherence leads to up to 50 percent of chronic disease treatment failure and 125,000 deaths each year in this country.

There are many reasons patients don’t stick to their medication routine. Misunderstanding the directions, forgetfulness, uncomfortable side effects, high prescription costs and more play into the reasons why. But whether non-adherence is intentional or unintentional, the results are still the same.

If you don’t take your medication as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist, you won’t have the right amount of medicine in your body at the right time to manage your condition. It could lead to your condition getting worse, hospitalization or yes, even death.

For example, if you have cardiovascular disease and don’t take your medication as directed, the consequences can be severe. Not keeping your blood pressure in check can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Taking your medication as instructed by your doctor is the best way to get maximum results from your medication and maintain the best possible health for yourself.

Sticking to your medication routine means taking your medicine as prescribed — the right dose, at the right time at the right frequency. It’s important to stick to your routine for controlling chronic conditions, reducing risk of complications, treating temporary conditions and your overall long-term health.

8 ways to help you stick to your medication regimen

The good news is there are several ways to help you adhere to your medication regimen. First and foremost, establishing a strong relationship with your doctor or pharmacist will help you feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns about medication. If you’re struggling to stick to your routine, together you can find the right solution.

Here are eight other strategies to consider implementing:

  • Take your medicine at the same time every day.
  • Try taking your medicine with a daily routine, such as brushing your teeth, getting ready for bed or eating breakfast. Before choosing a mealtime for your routine, check to see if your medication should be taken on a full or empty stomach.
  • Download a medication-management app on your smartphone for reminders, refill alerts, drug interaction warnings and also track medication side effects.
  • Use a pill container, and refill it at the same time every week.
  • Set reminders on your watch or digital calendar, or purchase timer caps for your pill bottles. You can set them to go off when your next dose is due.
  • Look for online videos to walk you through the steps on how to administer your medication if you’re struggling.
  • Try mail order or pharmacy delivery if you often forget to refill prescriptions on time or don’t have an easy way to pick them up.
  • Do not stop using your medication unless directed to do so by your physician. Abruptly stopping some medications can lead to severe side effects.

Don’t put your health at risk. Adhering to your medication routine is the most important thing you can do to manage your condition and improve your quality of life.