The Importance of Medication Adherence By: Dr. Anjali Rege
Medications often play a significant role in managing chronic illnesses and other serious health issues, which is why it is it is important for patients to remain compliant with taking prescriptions as directed by their health care providers. Medication non-adherence remains a widespread problem across the U.S., however. According to a National Report Card on Medication Adherence released by the National Community Pharmacists Association, more than half of Americans over 40 years old with a chronic condition - the group that uses prescription medication most regularly ¬- report multiple forms of non-compliance with their medications.
The report card's analysis names several key factors that contribute to patients' likelihood of medication adherence, including how easy it is to afford their medications, their personal connection with their pharmacy staff and how important they feel it is to take their medications as prescribed. HealthCare Partners has also noted common factors that affect patients' compliance with taking medications. For instance, some patients who refill medications at different times throughout the month are less likely to be compliant, due to the difficulty associated with taking multiple trips to the pharmacy.
There are several steps patients can take to achieve better compliance with taking medications as prescribed, including:
- Coordinating with their provider for all medications to be refilled at the same time every month, requiring only one monthly trip to the pharmacist
- Building a stronger personal connection with their pharmacy staff and asking about potential side effects of medications and how to avoid them
- Discussing the importance of their medications with their providers and the potential impacts if they don't adhere to their prescriptions
Medication adherence depends on open communication and cooperation between providers and patients. Following prescriptions as directed can help prevent additional health issues down the road, so it is helpful to develop a solid plan for taking required medications. HealthCare Partners providers are always available to discuss medications they prescribe, and they encourage patients to ask questions in order to fully understand what they are taking and why.