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Medication Adherence- Expectation vs. Reality

This conversation probable goes on in your patient's homes more than we would like. As pharmacists, we know how important it is for our patients to adhere to their medication regimen and in a perfect world every patient would take the right dose at the right time in the right way.

Why Don't Patients Take Their Medications Properly?

The true focus of pharmacy is not merely filling prescriptions, it is making sure patients understand what their regimen entails and that they are taking their medications as prescribed. Pharmacists are in the unique position of being able to identify non-adherence and utilize their expertise to benefit patient outcomes. The key is to communicate with your patients to understand why they may not be taking their medications as prescribed.

Once you've determined the why, the next step is figuring out what you need to do to make taking their medications as easy as possible. There is no one-size-fits-all solution- the key is to focus on the individual patient's non-adherence problem(s). But how do you do that?

Find out why the patient isn't taking their medications as prescribed. Are the medications too costly? Do they don't think they really need the medication? Do they not understand what medication they are taking?

Do they think they're taking too many?

Whatever their reason is, there is a solution.

After you find out why they are not taking their medication it's time to educate and empower your patient by developing a patient-centered approach to adherence. Talk to them about why they need this medication, what side effects they may experience, what can happen if they miss a dose.

Once you've made a plan, follow-up is key. Appoint someone on your staff to make calls, send email or texts- whatever works!

Medication adherence is key to improving your patient's outcomes. There will always be challenges, but a strong plan will help boost compliance and develop better patient relationships.

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