Not taking your meds? Caution!..

I must admit that I am guilty of not taking my medications sometimes.  It’s not intentional really, but it does happen. It could seem like a simple thing missing, or not taking your meds. Right?  It turns out that it could actually be life threatening !  Yes!

Following is a summary of a New York Times article. You can check and find out whether you are using these excuses for not taking your meds. Non-adherence to taking prescribed medications results in
50 % of prescriptions for chronic diseases not being taken as prescribed, typically people take only half of their prescribed doses.

  • Approximately 125,000 deaths and 10 percent of hospitalizations are the cause of non-adherence to prescriptions. If the drugs are not taken correctly they do not work.
  • A third of kidney transplant patients don’t take their anti- rejection medications. In addition, heart attack patients do not take their blood pressure meds.  Moreover, children with asthma do not use their inhalers at all, or consistently.

  • The question is why people do not take their medications?  Below are stated reasons for this non-adherence:
    • don’t like the idea of keeping kids on medication indefinitely.
    • ‘old-fashioned’ ‘not a pill person’ , ‘don’t like using ‘unnatural’ medications or ‘chemicals’.
    • believe that exercise and diet will be enough.
    • cost is a big reason.
    •  fear of side effects.

Here are some of the facts that you will want to consider before stopping your medications or a loved one’s  prescribed medications:

  • Not taking your medications can result in serious long term harm even if it does not seem so right away.
  • Patients with heart disease who took their meds regularly had fewer heart attacks.
  • Children who do not have obvious symptoms when stopping asthma medication can be at risk when they get a cold affecting their lungs, which leads to more weeks of illnesses.
  • You should take the entire prescribed doses of the medication.

Check with your doctor so that you can understand completely what the risks are before you decide not to complete your medication regimen.  It is risky to make this decision on your own.

Source: New York Times, Personal Health, Jane E. Brody


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