Medicine Non-Adherence Epidemic Outbreak
The United States is facing an epidemic right now. This epidemic is not a disease. This epidemic is 100% preventable, yet Americans are suffering and dying daily because of its effects. This epidemic is medicine non-adherence.
The numbers are astonishing. “Studies consistently show that 20% to 30% of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50% of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed,” according to a review in Annals of Internal Medicine. Whether patients are on blood pressure medicine or if they are on blood thinners to help prevent a stroke, the urgency and recognition of the importance of medicine adherence is somehow being missed in a great way.
This lack of medicine adherence is estimated to cause over 120,000 deaths and over 10% of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $300 billion a year according to recent statistics.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop explained, “Drugs don’t work for patients who don’t take them.” This lack of adherence can explain the seemingly ineffectiveness of old and new medications on diseases that we have the ability to treat with modern medicine.
Studies have shown that 1/3 of kidney transplant patients don’t take their anti-rejection medications, over 40% of heart attack patients don’t take their blood pressure medications, and over 50% of children with asthma either don’t use their inhalers at all or use them inconsistently.
Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, asked her patients who had suffered a heart attack why they were not taking their medications, and she got responses such as, “I’m old-fashioned — I don’t take medicine for nothing” from a man with failing kidneys, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes and a large clot in the pumping chamber of his heart.” This simply doesn’t make sense.
Patients have also admitted to going a week or two weeks without taking their prescribed medicines for conditions such as high blood pressure in hopes of discovering that their body doesn’t actually need the medicines, only to find that they were worse off and caused more damage during their “trial” period.
Cost is another major factor that deters patients from practicing medicine adherence. The more expensive a drug is to be refilled, the less likely that the patients are to practice accurate medicine adherence. Thankfully there are health insurance companies that help with copays and prescriptions. However, unfortunately cost is more than likely always going to be a major factor in medicine non-adherence.
A Solution : MedX Services
To battle against the medicine non-adherence epidemic, doctors and pharmacists can use digital technology such as spencer to interact with patients and reinforce the importance of staying on their medication. More studies and information can be provided to the patients themselves as well as the caregivers looking after them to help in making educated decisions with medicine management in the future.
MedX Services in Chattanooga, TN is ready to tackle this epidemic head first. Our team of medical professionals is ready to change the statistics and to increase medicine adherence in our state. Together, health care professionals and cutting-edge technology can make a difference! If you or someone you know struggles to manage their medications, there is a solution. Learn more about our services today and get back to enjoying life to it’s fullest!