Quick Tips for Medication Adherence
Medication adherence is generally defined as the extent to which patients take medication as prescribed by their doctors. This involves factors such as getting prescriptions filled, remembering to take medication on time, and understanding the directions.
When a patient chooses not to take their medication appropriately, they increase their chances of hospital admission, loss of work days, or even death. According to the American Heart Association, poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually.1
Common barriers to medication adherence include:
- the inability to pay for medications
- disbelief that the treatment is necessary or helping
- difficulty keeping up with multiple medications and complex dosing schedules
- confusion about how and when to take the medication
Whether one or a combination of these reasons is the source of non-adherence, the potential benefit of the medication could be missed.
- Take your medication at the same exact time every day, consistently.
- Make taking the medication a daily routine, just like brushing your teeth before going to bed.
- Utilize a calendar with times and dosages to take medications.
- Use a pill container with dividers for medications to be taken at different times of the day.
- Make sure that you refill the pill container on a routine schedule, so that you’ll never miss a dosage.
- Utilize timer caps for when the desired medication needs to be taken.
- When traveling, make sure that you take enough medication with you (and then some) in case there is a delay.
- If you are flying, make sure that you put your medication in a carry-on bag to avoid extreme temperatures and conditions and ensure it is not lost in cargo.
- Medication Adherence – Taking Your Meds as Directed. American Heart Association. www.heart.org