Funny thing about medication, it will not work unless you take it. For many of us, that simple task just seems to slip through the cracks. In fact, medication non-adherence–not taking medications as prescribed—is one of America’s costliest health problems.
Nearly half of the annual prescriptions dispensed in the United States are not taken as prescribed. Total cost estimates for non-adherence range from $100 to $300 billion each year for additional doctor visits, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and additional medicines. The reasons for non-adherence are as varied as patients themselves. Among them are the cost of medication, concern about side effects, forgetfulness with taking or refilling medications and doubts about whether a medication is needed.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), seniors need to take even greater care with both prescription and over-the-counter medications, As patients age and begin to take multiple medications, the risk of potentially dangerous drug interactions rises. The FDA warns that keeping multiple medications in order and taking them exactly as prescribed can be a real challenge for seniors.
Whether for the senior in your life or for yourself, the FDA makes the following recommendations:
Follow doctor’s orders. Take the correct dose of medication as prescribed by your doctor. Never stop taking the medication with consulting with your doctor first. Do not skip doses or take twice as much to make up for missed doses.
Keep track of medications. Compile a list of all medications you are taking and the exact dosage. Write down how often and what time of day you take the medications.
Do the homework. One medication can interfere with how another medication works. Certain foods or alcohol also can affect how medication works. Read all of the drug fact labels for every medication, and be sure all of your doctors are aware of all every medication you take.
Get a medication check-up. At least once a year, review your medications with your doctor. Confirm if you still need to take each drug, and check to see if a less expensive or more effective drug has become available.
Medications can extend both the length and quality of our lives. To maximize the benefits, medicines must be taken with great care and according to precise directions.
Lisa Vogel is the owner of The Lisa Vogel Agency, a home health care agency providing custodial care on a live-in or hourly basis for clients who require long-term care, rehabilitation care, or hospice care. Learn more about how to maintain your independence as you by contacting the Lisa Vogel Agency at 410-363-7770.