The importance of taking medications according to the medical prescription

Taking medications responsibly is a bet for health.

Any type of treatment that includes the intake of medications, must respect the medical prescription hope (the amount of dose and the period of time), this is extremely important to obtain the expected results.

However, the truth is that many patients do not take the medication in the way their doctor indicates and this often brings with it various complications for the health of the individual and huge health care expenses for the states.

Doctors often think about prescribing certain medications to their patients and indicating how to take them that they have no major doubts. However, because the consultation is often very brief and the doctor explains everything too quickly, the patient leaves with thousands of doubts and out of embarrassment or fear, he does not ask questions and then he takes the drugs as he thinks.

The incorrect taking of medications, is technically called lack of adherence to treatment and includes multiple causes. Among them are those who do not take the medicines because they can not pay for them, others for fear of side effects and others because they do not consider that they need them or that they may be beneficial.

Be that as it may, this is a serious public health problem and despite the efforts that the pharmaceutical industry and doctors have made over the decades to resolve it, there is no way out.

Some important data regarding the behavior of individuals:

  • Most studies indicate that between 45% and 55% of adults do not take the medicines according to the medical prescription
  • There are studies that suggest that between 25% and 50% of individuals suffering from hypertension, high cholesterolor diabetes , abandon pharmacological treatment during the year following the beginning of the same
  • Among patients suffering from mental illness, there is also a lack of adherence to treatment. According to research conducted by the University of California in San Diego, only 40% of schizophrenia patients followed medication treatment according to medical indications
  • According to a study conducted on people who had suffered a heart attack, only about 45% continued taking the indicated medication (beta-blocker) per year. This medication is usually indicated to all patients who have suffered heart attacks, as they prevent future attacks and decrease the risk of death. The study also showed that only 70% of patients continued taking the betabloquante 30 days after the attack, which means that 30% directly never took it or abandoned the treatment very quickly

Importance of compliance with pharmacological treatment

  • The consequences of non-adherence to pharmacological treatment can be fatal. A very comprehensive study of 31,455 people older than 66 years who had survived heart attacks, showed that those who had not taken prescribed medications or had left the treatment earlier, had a mortality rate 25% higher after 2 years of the attack. This study also indicated that patients who had not taken beta-blockers as their doctor had indicated had a 10% higher risk of death
  • According to the study mentioned above, conducted at the University of California in San Diego, 35% of schizophrenics who did not take the medication as prescribed by the doctor had to be hospitalized, compared to 14% who had done so.
  • The costs of non-compliance with drug treatment are high (the pharmaceutical industry talks about 100,000 million dollars a year), either as a result of work absenteeism, longer illnesses than expected or extra medical expenses

Take medications responsibly

Taking medications responsibly, strictly following the instructions of the doctor is an important commitment to health. This prevents future complications, pain and major expenses.

States and health systems can help solve this problem by lowering the costs of medicines so that users can pay for them. But the change of attitude, of behavior, the responsibility of taking them as prescribed by the doctor, can only be assumed by patients with the help of their doctors.

Some suggestions for a responsible attitude:

  • Talk with the doctor about the prescribed medication, its side effects, how to take it, its cost, etc.
  • Doctors generally do not pay attention to the costs of the medicines they prescribe, but often there are similar medicines or cheaper generics whose drug is the same for which the effect is also the same. If you think you can not afford the medication, ask your doctor if there is one that is cheaper