Here’s the Deadly Serious Reason to Follow Your Prescription Instructions

By Amber 0

“Nonadherence is a huge problem,” Bruce Bender, co-director of the Center for Health Promotion at National Jewish Health, told the New York Times. One example he pointed to is parents who stop their children’s asthma treatment simply because they don’t want their kids on medication indefinitely. Although they may not show any symptoms, the lungs will remain inflamed, and a simple cold can result in six weeks of illness.

It’s also an issue for even more serious ailments, with a third of kidney transplant patients not taking anti-rejection medication and 41 percent of people skipping their blood pressure medication. Doctors told the Times the inane explanations they’ve heard, including “I’m not a pill person,” and “I don’t take medication for nothing.”

But there’s also the matter of cost. When Aetna offered free medication to heart attack survivors, adherence improved by 6 percent, leading to 11 percent fewer heart attacks and strokes. “When the co-pay for a drug hits $ 50 or more, adherence really drops,” Dr. Bender told the Times.

The solution may not be so clear for those who can’t afford their prescriptions, but for everyone else it should be quite clear. As Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”

[via menshealth]