Your Prescription: Staying on Course

Silent Symptoms

Feeling well doesn’t necessarily mean being well. “High blood pressure and high cholesterol don’t have noticeable symptoms or make a person feel sick,” says Brenna De Angelis, a pharmacist who cautions against skipping pills. “Even though a person may feel well without their medication, it’s very important to follow the prescription as directed to prevent the condition worsening.”

The Pills Work Only if You Keep Taking Them

People often stop taking their medications when their symptoms subside and they start to feel better. “Some conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gout that clear up while a patient takes their medication may flare up again if they stop taking it,” says De Angelis. If you’re thinking about stopping your medication, talk first with your pharmacist or doctor.

Fewer Negative Outcomes

If you don’t follow your prescription, symptoms can drag on. “Taking medications as prescribed helps people achieve the health-related goals they’ve set with their doctor,” says De Angelis. “Not taking medications has been shown to be the cause of 30 to 50% of treatment failures in the United States [alone].”

Fewer Hospital Visits

“Five to six per cent of all hospitalisations are linked to not taking medications as prescribed,” says De Angelis. “Medications help to control chronic conditions from getting worse, as well as to prevent future health-related complications. And for some conditions these complications can be life threatening, for example, a heart attack or a stroke.”

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