Half of patients who are prescribed medications by their doctors do not take those medications as prescribed.
Nebraska City native Alyssa Claussen, who will receive her doctor of pharmacy degree from South Dakota State University next year, gave a presentation to the Nebraska City Rotary Club on medication compliance Wednesday afternoon.
Claussen, who is interning at Moser’s U-Save Pharmacy, said that 28 percent of patients fail to refill their prescriptions when needed, and 25 to 50 percent of patients who are prescribed statins to control cholesterol stop taking them, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Some of the reason patients do not take their medications as prescribed include not feeling any benefit from taking the medication, the medication’s cost, possible side effects, and not recognizing the importance of the medication to the patient’s overall health, said Clausen.
Another reason patients don’t take their medications is that they forget whether or not the drug has been taken, said Claussen.
She explained several methods to help make medications easier to take on a regular basis, including keeping the medications in plain sight, setting up a pill organizer, setting a daily alarm as a reminder, or using a smartphone app to track your medications.
Patients may also benefit from specialized prescription packaging, said Claussen, including blister-pack cards that make medication tracking easier and a single-dose Parata PASS bag system that can hold up to five medications at a time.
The easy-open bag provides information on the day of the week, the time the medications are to be taken, the names of the medications, and special instructions on taking them.
Moser’s U-Save offers Parata PASS medication packaging at no extra cost, said Claussen.
From a patient’s point of view, knowing which medications you’re taking is as important as taking them, said Claussen.
She encouraged the audience to review any medications they take regularly to know what the medication does, how it should be taken, what to do if a dose is missed, and possible side effects or interactions with other medications, including over-the-counter supplements.