Why You Should Take Your Meds as Prescribed

Medication nonadherence can lead to serious (but avoidable) problems.

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Do you ever forget to take your medication? Or maybe skip a dose or two because you’re feeling better? Or avoid it altogether because you don’t think it’ll work?

You’re not alone. The CDC estimates around 50% of the time, people don’t take their medications as prescribed. In the healthcare world, that’s called medication nonadherence.

Taking a medication as prescribed means taking the full dose of a medication your doctor prescribed, when you’re supposed to take it and how you’re supposed to take it (at night, with food, etc.).

Why people don’t take their medications as prescribed

There are a lot of reasons. And when you’re experiencing them, they are legitimate reasons.

You might:

  • Not understand the instructions
  • Not believe it will actually help you
  • Not want to experience the side effects
  • Feel better, so you stop taking it
  • Be nervous or uncomfortable with taking it (especially if it’s a big pill you’re nervous about swallowing, or a drug you have to inject or inhale)
  • Simply forget
  • Not be able to afford it

Why it matters

When you don’t take your medications as prescribed by your doctor, there’s a risk your condition could worsen. If you don’t tell your doctor you aren’t taking your meds as prescribed, they could miss the real reason you’re not getting better: missed or not enough doses.

Complications from noncompliance can be severe and costly. A 2017 New York Times article cited these figures from the Annals of Internal Medicine: each year, nonadherence causes an estimated 150,000 deaths, 10% of hospitalizations and costs the healthcare system over $100 billion.

Those are huge consequences for something that can often be helped before it becomes a problem.

How you can help yourself take your medications as prescribed

If you’re wanting to change something about your medication (like trying a different med, taking less of what’s been prescribed or quitting it altogether), just talk to your doctor. When you share your concerns, they can work with you to find a treatment that’s easier for you to stick to. Your pharmacist can also help you come up with ways to stick to your treatment plan.

If the main reason you’re not taking your medications as prescribed is because you can’t afford them, check Blink. With more than 15,000 prescription meds on offer, see if yours is available for a lower cost.

Lack of affordability shouldn’t keep anyone, including you and those you care about, from taking the generic medications they need to live healthy, productive lives.

This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 233 Spring Street, 8th Floor East, New York, NY 10013, (844) 366–2211, www.blinkhealth.com