For most of us, prescription medications are key to treating our chronic illnesses. Medicine doesn’t guarantee we will feel better, but it’s an important part of our efforts. Yet many of us struggle with adherence—taking our medicine as we are supposed to.
Adherence to your medication regimen means more than taking your medication regularly and correctly. It also involves filling and refilling your prescriptions and taking them for as long as your doctor has prescribed them.
The most important reason for adhering to your medicine regimen is that it improves your quality of life. The better your adherence is, the lower your risk of symptom flare-ups and hospital stays. Fewer flare-ups means you get to enjoy life more, while fewer doctor and hospital visits mean lower costs.
Too many people jeopardize their health by not taking their medicine. Mayo Clinic says only 50 percent of chronic illness patients take their medications as prescribed. They note that this may lead to hospitalization, poorer clinical outcomes, and even death. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says medication non-compliance causes 30 to 50 percent of chronic disease treatment failures and about 125,000 deaths in the United States every year. Your pills are no good to you if they don’t leave their pill bottles.