Why do patients stop taking their medication? 3 reasons: reminders, money and communication.
Nonadherence is costly, physically dangerous, unnecessary and important. One in four patients prescribed antihypertensives stop them within 6 months. One in three patients are off their statins within 12 months.
To improve the chances that people will take their meds:
*For clinicians: provide clear written instruction, anticipate side effects, and have another person available to answer questions within a few days of Rx.
In the office, have patients repeat back to you how they will take the meds and for how long.
*For patients: empowerment. Keep a daily log of blood pressures/sugars (here is one I use for weight control; adapt it). Is the medicine helping? You need to know.
Bring it every visit and ask the doctor to review it. Show how you were feeling when your blood pressure/sugar was high or low. Does the pharmacy’s have an automatic refill program? Use it.
*Both: discuss pill splitting (which ones?). A larger quantity purchase (means lower co-pays). Look for duplicate medications to omit. That’s the first thing I do when I look at a list.