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Take your Meds! The Importance of Prescription Adherence

Take your Meds! The Importance of Prescription Adherence

By Christopher Coyne

300 billion dollars a year. That's billion, with a ‘b'. That's how much the health care system in America would save if everyone took their medications as prescribed and directed. According the American Heart Association, poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans every year and cost the health care industry nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, ER visits and hospitalizations.

In order to address this problem and to raise awareness about the importance of prescription adherence, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, in partnership with UHS has launched a multi-media campaign to encourage people to "Take as Directed" (TAD) using superhero imagery to underline the message. "When it comes to fighting chronic conditions, a prescription drug can be a superhero, but it only works if patients let it," said Dr. MaryBeth, medical director of Excellus BCBS, "a key message of the campaign is that ‘if you're not taking your prescriptions as directed, you're taking a chance.'"

Prescription medications play a huge role in our nation's healthcare system. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about half of the total U.S. population and 90 percent of adults 60 and older used at least one prescription drug during the past month. "Doctors can do remarkable things with prescription medications to improve the health the health and quality of life of people suffering from a wide variety of chronic medical conditions," said Suzanne Whalen, UHS Vestal Pharmacy, Supervising Pharmacist, "but too often, patients fail to have new prescriptions filled, or they take the medication less frequently than prescribed, or they stop taking the medication altogether."

The TAD campaign, in the coming months is designed to stress the importance of adherence. "Getting people to take their medication as directed is one of the most effective interventions that our upstate communities can take to improve the health of local residents," said Dr. McCall.

Common Reasons Why Medication Is Not Taken
• Too Expensive
• Patient ‘just forgets'
• Getting refills is inconvenient
• Patient doesn't like side effects
• Patient doesn't think they need it, ‘feels fine' without it
• Just too complicated

To find out what you can do about any or all of the reasons listed above, check out the TAD campaign website at www.ExcellusBCBS/, or join the conversation on Twitter at #TakeAsDirected. And take your meds! They were prescribed for a reason.

Excellus BCBS
UHS Vestal Pharmacy