Taking medications as directed (medication adherence) is part of any treatment plan and an important step toward a healthier life.
If you’ve ever had a problem with your medicines, you are not alone. There are a lot of things to follow, which is why it’s important to keep track of your medications and tell your doctor which medicines you are taking.
You are an important part of your health care team. If you have a chronic condition, not taking your medication as directed can lead to severe repercussions. Studies show that as many as half of people with a chronic condition don’t take their medication as prescribed.
Taking your medication is just part of your overall treatment plan. Your doctor should be monitoring how well your medication is working for you. That ensures you are getting the maximum benefit from the medication you take.
Generic prescription drugs have the same safety and strength as brand-name drug counterparts and for most people work just as well. They have the added benefit of often costing less.
What can patients do?
- Give your health care team information about all the medicines, vitamins, herbs and dietary supplements you are taking.
- Tell your provider about any allergies you have to medications.
- Get the facts about your medication, including any side effects. Write down your questions or concerns before you talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
- Stay with your treatment plan and keep taking it for as long as prescribed, even if you feel better.
- Keep a record of your medications.
- Tell your doctor if you have any side effects from your medication and before you discontinue taking it for any reason.
What should your doctor do?
- Talk to you about your medications and why it’s important to keep taking them.
- Explain potential side effects from your medications and what you should do if they occur.
- Work with you to develop a plan to help you follow your treatment plan.
- Monitor your medication on a regular basis, to make sure that it’s working well for you.
- Prescribe generic medications when they are available and appropriate.