By Jeremy Fejfar, PharmD

Dr. Fejfar is our Health Plan’s Pharmacy Director: Government and Quality Programs. Dr. Fejfar earned his doctor of Pharmacy from South Dakota State University. He is a member of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.

The Side Effects of Not Taking Prescribed Medications


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

- Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

Studies show that 20 to 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled or the drugs are not taken. Often, people who do take prescription drugs only take half of the prescribed doses. Not taking prescribed medications is estimated to cause 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations annually in the U.S.

There are many reasons people don’t take their prescriptions, such as they –

  • Think the prescription is too complex
  • 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
  • Simply forget to take them

In the workplace, improper use of medication can impact productivity, attendance, communications and even safety. Encourage your employees to talk to their doctor or pharmacist. They can address concerns, possibly direct them to financial aid to make drugs more affordable or switch medications to reduce side effects.