The Importance of Following Prescription Directions

According to the FDA, “clinging to your medication routine (or adherence)” means taking your medications exactly as prescribed – in the prescribed dose, at the specified time, in the prescribed manner, and as frequently as directed. But, why is it necessary to carry out these tasks?

Simply put, failing to take your medication as prescribed by a doctor or as instructed by a pharmacist may result in the deterioration of your disease, hospitalization, or even death.”

For various reasons, many patients do not follow their healthcare provider’s instructions on how to take medications. These reasons include the drug appearing to be ineffective, not understanding the directions, forgetting to take it, taking multiple medications with varying regimens, and experiencing unpleasant side effects.

Cost may also contribute to medication non-adherence. For example, patients who cannot afford to fill their prescriptions may take less than the prescribed dose to extend their duration. Therefore, to get the best results from your medications, it is critical to take them exactly as prescribed.

Why Should You Take Medications as Directed?

Adherence to medication means taking your prescriptions in the prescribed dosage, at the specified time, in the prescribed manner, and with the prescribed frequency. This is critical for managing ongoing chronic conditions, treating acute illnesses successfully, and maintaining overall health and well-being.

When a physician prescribes a medication, they will most likely specify how frequently and for how long you should take it. The amount of medication scientists determine is the recommended duration and treatment dosage your body requires to combat a specific illness or disease adequately. That is why, depending on the severity of the condition, one may need to take a prescribed medication once daily, a few months, or even years.

Why Don’t People Take Medications as Directed?

The primary benefit of adequately using the medication as prescribed is improving health. Doctors prescribe medications to alleviate symptoms and aid in the management or resolution of specific health conditions.

Failure to take medications as prescribed can result in deteriorated health, a longer recovery time, unwanted side effects, death, substance use disorders, and other serious health problems requiring intensive treatment.

Correct medication use can help you save money on health care costs associated with medication misuses, such as emergency room visits, hospitalization, and addiction treatment.

What Happens If You Skip a Dose?

Don’t panic if you have forgotten to take a dose of a medication you take regularly. In contrast, some medications include instructions on proceeding if you miss a dose. If yours does not, there are a few things you can do.

  • Avoid taking your medication in excess – taking too much at once can be dangerous.
  • Take the medication immediately upon recall.
  • If your next dose is approaching when you remember, skip the missed dose and resume your regular medication schedule.
  • If you’re unsure what to do, seek advice from your pharmacist or physician.
  • Create a plan for remembering to take your medications on schedule to avoid missing additional doses.

Tips for Taking Medication as Prescribed

Before using such new medication, carefully read all of the directions on the label. Moreover, seek assistance and clarification from your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure how to take the medication properly. This can help avoid misunderstandings resulting in dosages being accidentally doubled or less than intended.

Additionally, your doctor or pharmacist can discuss possible adverse reactions that may occur if you misuse the medication or combine it with certain other substances. For instance, benzodiazepines and opioids should never be combined, as this can result in overdose or death.

Additional tips for adhering to your medication regimen include the following:

  • Take your medication at the same time each day to avoid dose overlap.
  • Maintain an updated list of all medications you take so that any doctor or specialist you see can check for potentially fatal drug interactions.
  • If you’re having financial troubles, consult your pharmacist for a prescription discount.
  • Determine whether your medications should be taken on an empty or full stomach.
  • Incorporate your medications into your daily routine to ensure that you never forget, such as before brushing your teeth at night or after breakfast.
  • Utilize daily pill containers to assist you in keeping track of your daily doses.
  • Each week, refill your daily pill container on the same day to avoid dose duplication.
  • Purchase timer caps for all of your medication bottles to keep track of when you last took them.
  • Prescription medications should not be shared or given away. This is a prohibited and dangerous practice that may harm those who take your medications without a valid prescription.
  • When traveling, bring additional medication in case your stay exceeds your expectations.
  • When flying, always pack medication in your carry-on bag to avoid damage caused by temperature and air pressure changes. Additionally, you’ll have it available if your luggage is lost or damaged.
  • Do not abruptly stop taking your medication unless directed by your doctor, as doing so can result in severe side effects.

Final Thoughts

Doctors prescribe medications to alleviate symptoms and aid in managing or resolving specific health conditions. Failure to take medications as prescribed can result in deteriorated health, prolonged recovery time, unwanted side effects, and other serious health problems requiring intensive treatment.

Moreover, taking your medications the right way can help you save more money from additional healthcare costs. Hence, for your safety and the state of your finances, follow your prescriptions as directed.

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