Posted by: Thixia | June 5, 2008

Medications and YOU 3 of 11

Don’t second-guess your prescription medications

 

 

When I say that my wife is noncompliant, I mean that she never follows the financial advice I so freely give her, “which is the main reason,” she often tells friends, “that my business is successful.” In medicine, however, noncompliant has a different meaning:

 

·    it’s what we call people who don’t take their medications as prescribed, and according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the noncompliant are the majority:

·    most people, it seems, don’t take all the pills prescribed or they don’t take the full dose.

 

As well, lots of people take drugs that they don’t tell their primary physician about (over-the-counter, herbal, or even prescription medications prescribed by other doctors), and which could, of course, react adversely with something their primary doctor gave them.

 

The really scary thing to me, though, is that according to a study published in the journal Chest a similar noncompliance phenomenon occurs in clinical trials (studies to evaluate a drug, many of which are done before it’s released to see how well it works and how safe it is).  In this study on chronic lung disease, 30% of subjects didn’t take the drug the way they had been told to take it, and many of them simply “dumped” the contents of their inhaler just before visiting the researchers to report on how well they were doing.

 

So why are people noncompliant? Because they are (legitimately) concerned with the potential side effects and complications of medications, fears aggravated by a constant barrage of “bad news” stories about medications in the media, and by doctors who often don’t take the time to discuss the risks and benefits of a medication they prescribe.  Another factor adding to people’s concerns is that so many new medications have come along that even doctors are not completely familiar with many of them yet, and thus often offer conflicting information about them to confused patients.  Finally, the last few years has seen an explosion of often surprising information to scare us about the hitherto largely neglected area of drug interactions.  I mean who but a die-hard fruitarian would have ever guessed that grapefruit juice is powerful enough to affect the blood level of certain medications?

 

 

What does this have to do with you? Only this: if you ever become unsure about a medication you’re on, don’t just flush the remainder of the prescription down the toilet (for a start, who knows what you might do to the porcelain?) Instead, find out all you can (from the Internet, pharmacists, doctors, etc.) about the benefits (all medications have benefits) and risks (ditto!) of this medication, and discuss your conclusions – can you stop taking it, can you take a reduced dose, can you use an herbal product instead, etc.  – with your doctor.

 

 

 

 

 Art Hister, MD in association with the MediResource Clinical Team 

 

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on.  Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s).  This site is not a substitute for medical advice.© 1996 – 2008 MediResource Inc.  – Targeted Health Solutions

 

 

Compliments of:

Med Broadcast Canada

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