The Side Effects of Not Taking Prescribed Medications

  • October 22, 2018
  • |Quartz
|
Medication
Studies show that 20 to 30 percent of prescribed drugs are never filled or taken. Often, the people who do take these prescription drugs, only take half of the prescribed doses.
By Jeremy Feifar, PharmD

Why Don't People Take Their Meds?

Researchers, who have been studying the top reasons why people don’t take their meds as directed, have found that they – 

  • Get confused 
  • Don’t have symptoms 
  • Don’t like the side effects 
  • Can’t pay for the drug 
  • Believe it is a sign of weakness to need drugs 
  • Forget to take them

“Drugs don’t work in the patients who don’t take them”

– Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

What Are the Consequences?

Researchers have also found that people not taking their prescribed medications is estimated to cause 125,000 deaths in the U.S. and leads to 10 to 25 percent of hospitalizations and nursing homes admissions annually.

Tips to Help You Remember to Take Your Meds

  • Place your medications by your toothbrush so you see them twice a day 
  • Use a weekly pill organizer 
  • Download a smartphone app that will prompt you with reminders

Talk to Your Doctor or Pharmacist

Let your doctor / pharmacist know if you aren’t taking your medications as prescribed and tell them the reason. They can address any concerns you may have. They may even help direct you to financial aid that may make it more affordable or switch you to a different medication. Don’t be afraid to ask about alternatives since there are multiple drugs that may be used to treat most diseases.


Sources: CSTSonline.org; aacap.org/AACAP

Comments

Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first