Healthcare providers and professionals do the best they can to ensure patients get the right care to get back in good health. Sometimes, this effort is put to waste because these patients fail to adhere to their medications. Medication adherence is when patients take their medications correctly as instructed by their healthcare professional. It involves taking medicines on time, following all the directions for taking the medicines, and getting their prescriptions filled.
However, some people fail to properly adhere to this. Sadly, nonadherence to medication is quite a common occurrence. You can check out this article to read up more on this. 1 out of every 5 prescriptions written does not get filled; out of the remaining 4 that get filled, only 50% is taken correctly.
All these are responsible for the increasing hospital admissions and morbidity rates. This is why healthcare professionals need to know how to handle this situation to get the best results. To do so, one must first understand the reasons this happens before they can find working solutions. That said, this article will be looking at some challenges to medication adherence as well as solutions to them.
There are so many reasons why patients fail to take their medicines the way they are meant to. Understanding these reasons is key to solving this situation. Below we’ll look at some common and significant reasons.
Health care can be quite expensive. So many people borrow or have medical debts just to get healthy. So, it is not shocking that the cost of medications is a major reason why some people do not adhere to them. A patient may get a prescription and fail to fill it because they simply cannot afford it.
It is common for any medication to have adverse effects. Sometimes, these side effects can be quite severe. If a patient experiences a severe adverse effect to a medicine they are taking, there’s a big chance that they’ll discontinue it.
Sometimes, the effects may not be that severe, but the patient may decide that it isn’t worth it. Some common side effects that cause patients to discontinue their medication include skin irritation, fatigue, dizziness, upset stomach, nausea, and weight gain. Some would discontinue the medicine without even telling their healthcare provider.
Polypharmacy is typically when a patient is taking more than five medications. When this is the case, it is sometimes difficult for the patient to keep track of all the directions and timing of the different medicines. They may also battle with the different side effects of the medicines. This can result in them taking the medicines incorrectly or even discontinuing them altogether.
Health literacy is simply an individual’s ability to receive and understand medical information and then use it to make the right health decisions. Visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ to learn more about this. Sadly, not a lot of people have a high level of health literacy.
This means that the majority of patients do not know how to process health information and this leads to bad decisions. When a patient does not grasp the concept of the information they receive, they may decide they do not need the medication prescribed after all. They may also fail to properly follow the instructions on how to take their medicines, simply because they do not understand them.
Medication Adherence Solutions
The following are some solutions to combat the above challenges:
A lot of patients have the intention of filling and taking their medications. But they are restricted financially. If there are certain financial aids put in place, this will aid medication adherence for such patients. Other ways to help the patient economically include collecting blood and other samples remotely and home monitoring.
Some people do not even take medicine before deciding the side effects are not worth it. People like these will first read the medication package and the information they see on it would make them decide not to use the medicine.
This is why one way to mitigate this fear is to explain these side effects to the patients. If physicians can explain the effects to them, tell them the chances of them experiencing them, and also what to do if they experience them, the patient would be able to overcome their fear.
Healthcare providers need to work on improving patients’ health literacy by educating them. This is perhaps one of the most important medication adherence solutions that can be used to combat this problem. This is because the patients are responsible for taking their medications. If they understand the importance of doing so, adherence will significantly increase.
Each solution to this medical situation that we have discussed does not work individually. To get the best results, all of these solutions must be implemented. This will guarantee an approach that deals with all the possible problems so that none will be ignored.