The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that non-adherence causes 30 - 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year in this country.
• 20 - 30% of new prescriptions are never filled at the pharmacy
• Medication is not taken as prescribed 50 % of the time
• For patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases, after 6 months, the majority take less medication than prescribed or stop the medication altogether
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
A Prescription for Your Health
By: Ben Sturm, PharmD
When you’re sick or at appointment with your doctor, it can be difficult to remember everything that was said to you, such as limit your sugar intake, exercise more, use sunscreen - and the big one, take your medications. This can be a loaded instruction. Many of us are prescribed more than one, with more than one set of dosage and frequency requirements, which leaves us with questions. Do I have to take this medication? How often do I take it? When do I take it? Does it need to be taken with water or food? All of these are important questions that should be discussed with your pharmacist. Leaving questions unanswered and not taking prescriptions appropriately can lead to negative outcomes, such as hospital readmission, unnecessary medical costs and treatment failure.
Anyone taking prescription medications should know that they are only effective when taken as directed. Speaking with a pharmacist can help you understand how to take your medications properly for the best results. Pharmacists consistently rank highly as one of the most trusted professions and are available to counsel patients on potential side effects, and trained to discuss interactions with other medications. And, if out-of-pocket cost is a concern, your pharmacist can work with the prescriber and insurance company to identify equivalent or similar medications that may be of a lower cost.
To help address the health and medication needs of the community, Sturdy Memorial Hospital recently opened a public pharmacy. Staffed by Doctors of Pharmacy like myself, the pharmacy is open to anyone with a valid prescription order from their provider. Our experienced pharmacy staff are focused on your needs and able to assist with everything from transferring prescriptions to specific questions about medication therapy. Creating an open dialogue with your pharmacist is an important step to “medication adherence” or sticking to your medication routine.
As a pharmacist, I often find that when patients don’t follow the dosing instructions of their medication, it’s a result of not fully understanding them, forgetting what was said, having too many medications, and experiencing unpleasant side effects. To help overcome some of these challenges take medication at the same time each day, use a pill container (one that has sections for multiple doses can be extra useful), refill your pills at the same time each week, and incorporate your medication routine into your existing daily routine (when feeding your dog, after your morning walk). When in doubt, talk to your local pharmacist - they are often the most accessible members of one’s health care team, no appointment needed!
You may have a chronic illness that requires continuous treatment, take an unexpected trip the emergency room or need management of new symptoms – knowing what you’re taking and why can influence your recovery and long term health.
Sturdy Memorial Hospital, 211 Park Street, Attleboro, MA
Phone: 508-236-7621 Fax: 508-236-7624
Monday - Saturday: 9am - 7pm
Sunday: 9am - 1pm
Pharmacy Manager: Melissa Quirk