Adherence TO Medicines

23 November, 2020

Adherence To Medicines

It is the most difficult task for a patient!

Yes, you are right...

It’s Medicines have to be taken on time and on regular basis.

Patients with chronic illness find it more difficult to follow their care management plans.

There are many reasons why patients don’t take their medications:

  • Either they forget or can’t afford the medicines.
  • They have some kind of mental barrier which is as simple as not liking the medicines or some stigmas associated with the medicine.
  • They are fearful of any adverse side effects caused due to medicines.
  • Many patients especially pediatric patients struggle with medicines that don’t taste good or are too big in size to swallow.

We, at LIFEBLYSS, are trying to help out with these issues which many of the patients face.

The issues which patients deal with are -

1. Discontinuation of medicines without doctor's consent

Some patients abruptly stop taking medicines on their own without asking their consulting doctor. The reason is they feel better , so they think there is no need to continue with the medicines. Sometimes they modify the dosages and the timings also. They don’t follow the instructions as prescribed by their consulting physician.

The effects of discontinuing the medicines are sometimes visible, sometimes the damage caused to the vital organs like Heart, Liver, Eyes in case of diabetic patients is irreversible. The patients can suffer from paralytic attacks or heart attacks due to their negligence / ignorance of medications. They may also get life threatening infections and end up in an emergency situation.

There has to be serious about following the medicines and the treatment part, or else the disease may worsen.

According to the reports generated by CDC, many people in the USA have lost their lives only due to their ignorance about prescribed medicines.

2. Reasons patients have for non-adherence to the medicines -

Some reasons for not taking medicines on time or skipping the dose could be patients' busy schedules, meetings or excess workload due to which they tend to forget their recommended dose on prescribed time.

Other reason is the cost of the medicines, cost of the investigations to be done which accounts for non-adherence to the medicines.

False Beliefs / notions about the medicines which patients bear in their minds are that they would get deprived of their internal strength due to intake of many / strong doses of medicines. So many times these patients without prior notice eventually stop taking medicines on their own.

Information secured from non authentic sources about medicines would also misguide the patients. Sometimes close friends, family discussions may also add to their woes.

The number of medicines increase if the patient is suffering from multiple problems / co-morbidities, so they get confused with the timings and tend to skip the doses.

3. Easy solutions / Guidance for the patients to follow proper medications -

Various simple, easy and concrete methods can be adopted by the patients, which can make things easier for them.

Family is the strong pillar system

1. Family support -

Be it spouse, parents or children, family plays a very important role in helping out their patients in taking their doses on time. Reminding the patient about the timings and the right dose of medicines, their routine check ups, follow ups, all these things can be followed precisely by the family members.

2. Cheaper alternatives -

If the patient is having any affordability issue, they can always discuss it out with their consulting doctor and request for other cheaper alternatives , if possible. As sometimes the treatment is for longer period, the financial status of the patient is of major concern to him.

3. Usage of fixed drug combinations -

To decrease the pill load sometimes the doctors make use of combinations of multiple medicines. This definitely helps many patients to get rid of keeping in mind about the various timings and the different doses to be taken.

4. Set dose remainder with the help of mobile -

Reminders can be set on mobiles which gives a beep sound on set time so patient is alerted and they cannot skip the dose. Sticky notes are also helpful for the patients who prefer visual reminders, thus encouraging them to take medicines on time.

Family members, caretakers and treating doctors apart from giving instructions about the medicines, need to use their communication skills and develop strategies to motivate the patients in managing multiple medicines.

5. Daily dose containers -

Patients getting treated for multiple illnesses have to take many medicines and the dose timings are also different, so managing all the things at one time for them gets difficult. So one of the easy and reliable methods that can be adopted is to categorize the medicines as per their timings and frequency and label the containers accordingly. This trick works best for old patients / senior citizens who are on medications.

6. Discussion and Acceptance -

During the visit and consultation, discussion with the treating doctor about the illness and the treatment, it is always encouraged that the family members have open and clear discussion with their doctor about the doses, finance part, affordability and duration of the medicines. It will benefit the patients as well as the consultant to work as a team to manage the illness and its treatment, to get the desired effects.

So by following these simple tricks , we all can make the life of patients as well as their caretakers easy and comfortable. Taking medicines on time and regularly following the instructions as per the doctor’s advice can save the patients from complications.

Truly said by MISTY COPELAND

Anything is possible when you have right people to support you!

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe and Keep Smiling!
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