Are You Taking Your Medication Correctly? Here’s Why It Matters

If you take medications, it’s important to take them as prescribed.

August 21, 2022

Have you or your loved ones ever had a hard time taking prescription medication? If the answer is yes, you are not alone.

Taking medication sounds simple, but in reality, there are countless intricacies. Some medications must be taken at a certain time of day, or at the same time every day. Some have to be taken with or without food. The patient may be cautioned about potential interactions and side effects.

The process of taking prescriptions properly is known as “medication adherence,” and many people struggle with it. Some people have trouble remembering to take their pills every day—or remembering whether or not they’ve already taken them. They may forget to order a refill before they run out. People who are concerned about the cost of the medication may not get the prescription filled in the first place.

Sometimes people are reluctant to take a particular medication because they don’t like the side effects, they’re worried about becoming dependent, or they aren’t currently experiencing symptoms. If you have questions about a medication that was prescribed for you, or you don’t think it’s working, talk to your doctor before you stop taking it.

A study done in the Annals of Internal Medicine illustrates the lack of medication adherence and the subsequent ramifications in the United States:

  • 20%-30% of prescriptions are never filled.
  • 50% of medications for chronic disease are not taken correctly.
  • Lack of medication adherence causes approximately 125,000 deaths and 10% of hospitalizations each year.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and herbal supplements are also medications that need to be taken thoughtfully. Be aware of potential interactions and side effects. 

If you have trouble remembering to get your prescriptions filled, sign up for a mail order pharmacy. Medications can now be shipped right to your door, eliminating the need to visit the pharmacy in person. Many insurance plans offer this for their members.

Need help staying on track with your prescription medications? You can set medication reminders on your smartphone or download a medication app. This Wired article has tips for getting started.

For more help, consult an expert. Pharmacists are sometimes viewed as pill counters, but they are highly trained experts who can help clients with the management of medications. Some health advisory firms, including Better Health Advisors, have consultant pharmacists to provide clients with further guidance. A health advisor can also relay updated medication information to doctors and communicate with your medical team on your behalf about side effects or other issues. 

If you or your loved ones need help managing your medications, reach out to an expert health advisor. Health advisors provide concierge services, impartial insights, care coordination, and ongoing personal support, simplifying the process of navigating the healthcare system.

Have healthcare questions?

Our team of expert health advisors can help.

Schedule a consultation →