Closeup of woman taking a pill

We all know people who don’t take their medications as prescribed. Perhaps they don’t realize how much scientific study and careful thought has gone into creating the dosage regimens for the medications they need. When healthcare providers prescribe medications, they expect patients to “take as directed”. However, medication adherence is a huge problem in the US. It is estimated that 3 out of 4 Americans don’t take their meds properly, resulting in worsening of chronic conditions and sometimes leading to an early death.

There are many reasons for not taking prescribed medications according to directions, or not taking them at all:

  • People are human. They forget.
  • Fear of side effects
  • Medication regimens can be too complex to remember.
  • Uncertainty that the medication is working
  • Cost

Whatever, the reason, if you can’t or don’t want to take your medications as directed, speak with your healthcare provider. If side effects are an issue, perhaps there’s a different drug or a different way to take it that would solve the problem. If you’re forgetting to take your medicine, there are reminders available. And… if cost is a concern, your healthcare provider may be able to help by referring you to a patient assistance program from the pharmaceutical company that makes your drug.

Don’t give up and don’t stop taking your medications. Keep working with your healthcare provider until the system is right for you.