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Take as Directed

Take as Directed: Protect Your Health By Sticking to Your Medication Schedule

January 09, 2022 Posted in: Health & Wellness , Patients & Providers  1 minute read time


It’s easy to miss a dose of a medication or forget to pick up a prescription refill. But falling behind on medications, or not taking them as directed, can be dangerous.

“When patients with chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, do not take medication as directed, the repercussions can be severe,” said Emily Cox, PharmD, RPh, a clinical pharmacist at CHI Saint Joseph Health Partners, a clinically integrated network of physicians collaborating with hospitals to deliver evidence-based care, improve quality, efficiency and coordination of care, and demonstrate value to the market. “For example, not keeping blood pressure in check can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 50% of filled prescriptions are taken incorrectly, with nonadherence accounting for an estimated 125,000 annual deaths, while 20% of new prescriptions are never even filled.

Also, sometimes it can be tempting to discontinue a medication when you start feeling better. Cox says don’t do it.

“It’s important to consult your provider first,” she said. “Your doctor can expertly taper your dose and wean you off with as few adverse effects as possible.” 

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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Spirit of Health magazine's print edition is distributed quarterly and focuses on topics related to our CHI Saint Joseph Health purpose and values.