Medication Adherence! (A Health Storylines Challenge)
Here we are again with another Health Storylines post!
This month I want to talk about medication adherence. A lot of people are really concerned about the opioid crisis, but something I personally feel is more important than that is actually medication adherence. People have medications that they need to take, but for whatever reason they don’t comply with their treatments.
But one of the more widely known reasons for non compliance is feeling better but then stopping the medicine. This is most commonly seen with antibiotics. people get antibiotics for some sort of (usually) minor infection. They get the antibiotics and take them for a few days, then stop taking them because they feel better. The main issue is that this usually ends up with there still being some bacteria still left over. This causes the infection to reoccur when the antibiotics leave your system and will result in a more resistant infection. This can be very difficult to treat and can be life threatening.
- Approximately two-thirds of Americans have a prescription medication.
- Roughly only about 50% of people adhere to their medications.
- Non-adherence is responsible for up to 50% of treatment failures, up to 25% of hospitalizations and approximately 125,000 deaths each year.
- Non-adherence also costs about 300 billion dollars in avoidable healthcare costs every year.
- You’re ten times more likely to die because of medication non-adherence than dying of homicide.
- Typically you need to adhere to your medication 80% of the time for it to actually help you. But you should Always take your medications unless instructed otherwise by a medical professional.
- Adherence rates for medications actually go down as time passes. Such as people taking their medications correctly and feeling better, but then eventually stopping it because they think they’re cured.
Reasons People Don’t Adhere
- They “feel better"
- side effects
- They don’t understand how to take their medication
- Insurance coverage
How to Adhere to Medication
Medication can be really expensive but there are ways to be able to afford it. A lot of time pharmacies will have manufacturers coupons that can lower your co-pay. Newer medications may have co-pay assistance programs that help cover costs. There are also things like GoodRx that can also help lower costs.
A lot of people stop taking their medications because they feel better. Try to remember that it’s the medication making you feel better.
Side effects are a part of taking medication unfortunately and just about every medicine has some sort of side effect. Usually side effects are actually rather mild and will go away on their own after you’ve been on it awhile. Though some side effects can be quite severe, in which case you should talk to your doctor and see if it may be necessary to switch to a different medication that works similarly.
Sometimes doctors have a tendency to make things unclear. Sometimes they get ahead of themselves and assume that the patient understands what they’re saying. If you don’t understand something a doctor has said to you, ask questions. There are no wrong questions and doctors also like to see people are taking an active interest in your care. And knowing things about the medication you take can save your life.
Depending on what insurance you have could mean that you may have problems getting certain medications covered. Sometimes you may not be able to start a medication right away. If you run into issues with getting medications covered by insurance, always call your doctor and tell them what’s happening. And chances are they also have to do additional paperwork for your insurance to approve it.
Sometimes people just forget to take their medication, we’re all human we’ve all done it. But there are ways to try to not to forget to take them. Like putting your pill bottle next to your phone or purse/wallet. You can also use weekly pill organizers and sort your pills out and put it on your nightstand. You can also make pill alarms.
This month I challenge you all to stick to your medication plan!
Splurge a little and buy a new pill organizer and decorate it! Anything that will help you stay on track. If you're having issues with your medications regarding coverage always talk to your doctor and pharmacist they might be able to help you! And every time you start a new medicine (especially if it's a newer drug) google it, the drug manufacturer might have a co-pay assistance program.
As always if you accept this challenge feel free to tag me on social media! Also use #SSHealthChallenge and #selfcareMVMT when you make the post.
You can use the Health Storylines app to set up pill reminders for whenever you need them! You can also use the app for a variety of other things and things based on specific illnesses. You can sign up for the app here and then download it from your App Store.
I’m not a medical professional. You should always talk to your doctor before stopping or changing any medication.