Low compliance to prescription medication is an ever present and complex problem, and has been identified as a major public health problem. Poor adherence can have a major impact on health outcomes especially for patients with a chronic long term condition.
such as alarm reminders, either a clock or on their mobile phone. Some people will put the medication in a particular place, for instance if they listen to the six o’clock news on the radio they will put their tablets by the radio so that when they switch on the will be reminded to take their tablets. Some will leave notes on the fridge door. There are now Apps for your smart phone that will remind you to take your tablets. Some strategies appeared effective, but what is clear is that there is not one single approach that appears effective across all clinical situations or for all outcomes. Manufacturers of medicines are constantly looking at ways of improving patient adherence to their drugs. All of them will produce a patient information leaflet – the small leaflet that you will find in your box of tablets. Some will also produce a more comprehensive patient guide to the
condition and the medicine for the condition. Others go further and have a programme that patients can choose to join when they are first diagnosed and prescribed the medication. This may comprise of a series of magazines and health leaflets that are sent to the patient at regular intervals for a period of time. They may also provide a help-line manned by nurses. Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturers of Dabigatran (Pradaxa) provide an adherence programme designed to help patients cope with their atrial fibrillation (AF), know why it is important to take the medication and ways to help themselves to have a healthier life. If you are prescribed Dabigatran for AF then your GP may be able to give you details. Examples of the magazine they provide are shown below.
The importance of medication adherence Living with a chronic disease, by its nature, requires the active participation of patients. It forces the person to make decisions about their lifestyle, such as exercise, nutrition or medication, as these activities have a role in the treatment of disease or accompaniment. In fact, the degree of involvement of patients is an essential component of treatment. 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. However many people never take their prescriptions to the pharmacy, 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. Failing to take medication correctly, through lack of understanding or difficulty in remembering to take it, clearly has serious implications for health. More than one in three medicine-related hospitalisations happen because 16 INReview
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 – 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. However, the greater the patients understanding of their condition and the medication that they need to take to manage their condition and minimise risk will lead to better adherence in taking the medication regularly and at the right time. There are many ways in which people can help themselves to remember to take their medication
TRAVEL INSURANCE When you take out travel insurance you must check that it will cover your specific condition. Declare all your past and present health conditions. Making a mistake or omission could result in a claim being refused. For travel in Europe, make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to reduced-cost and sometimes free medical treatment. Take out travel insurance as well because an EHIC may not cover all the costs of your treatment. An EHIC doesn’t cover the cost of being flown back to the UK.
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The importance of medication adherenceinr