When you learn that you have a long-term health problem, one of the most important ways you can manage your condition is by taking your medicine as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. This is also known as medication adherence.
Many people never fill their prescriptions, or they may never pick up their filled prescriptions from the pharmacy. Other people bring their medication home, but don’t follow their health care professional’s instructions – they skip doses or stop taking the medicine, or they take more than instructed or at the wrong time of day.
Not taking your medicine as directed can be bad for your health – it can make it harder to breathe or do everyday things. It can rob you of a long and full life. Not taking your medicine as directed can also lead to other health problems, especially if you already have asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressures.
More than one in three medicine-related hospitalizations happen because that person did not take their medicine as directed. Not taking your medicine as directed can do more than just send you to the hospital – almost 125,000 people die every year because they did not take their medicine as directed.
There are many reasons people don’t take their medicine as directed, including forgetfulness, side effects, not sure they need medicine and cost. No matter the reason for not taking the medicine, the result is the same – patients lose protection against future illness and face serious health complications.
If you have questions about your condition–how your medicine works, why you need to take medicine, side effects or other concerns– talk about it. Your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other health care professional can help you understand your health problem and all the things you can do to manage it – starting with taking your medicine as directed.
If you are still interested to learn more about ‘medication adherence’, see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You may also want to visit our Health Care Professional website.