Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Are you taking your medication as prescribed?

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As someone who takes medication daily for asthma, I know how tiresome taking daily meds can be and how easy it is to forget a dose, especially when you're feeling good. Improper use of medication is a huge problem in the United States, however, and experts predict that nearly half of all patients with chronic illnesses don't take their medication as prescribed. Those with diseases that are symptom free initially -- such as heart disease -- are especially at risk. For instance, high blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because it damages the body but causes few external symptoms, but nearly half of all hypertension suffers stick to medication guidelines.

Part of the problem is patient education and consistency, and part of the problem comes from poor wording on prescriptions. A recent study found that even a surprising 21% of physicians aren't consistent with their own medications. Government leaders are working on an aggressive campaign to help people understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed. If you have questions about your medication, be sure to talk to your doctor before changing or dropping the dose.

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