TAKING THE MEDICATION (COMPLIANCE)
I take my medication. Do you?
When different health professionals analyse your file, a fundamental question is asked about the regularity at which a patient takes his or her medication.
- "Do you sometimes forget to take your medicine?"
- "Do you take your medicine regularly?"
You have certainly been asked one of these questions while you were hospitalized or at a follow-up appointment at your doctor's office.
Almost half of all patients do not take them regularly
When looking at data collected on adherence to treatments, nearly 50% of patients with chronic illness (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) do not take their medications regularly.
There are several reasons that lead to stopping or erratic consumption of medication. It is not rare to hear "Doctor, I stopped your pill because it gave me too many side effects. Since then, I feel better! "
Or, "Your blood thinning pills gave me nose bleeds, so I stopped them, and the problem is resolved.”
Many people also do research on the Internet and find all kinds of information about drugs that can be true or not.
They decide to stop taking them on that basis.
Several problems can arise from this lack of regularity or stopping a drug, which is why your doctor and pharmacist insist on maintenance and regular treatment.
# 1 Adjusting your treatments may depend on it
During your appointment with your doctor, he or she usually revaluates your treatments after receiving results of analyzes and different examinations (for example, physical examination, the blood pressure, medical imaging, etc.).
If you do not take your medications on a regular basis, your doctor may adjust them for the wrong reasons. These changes may not have been needed if your medication was taken regularly.
Here’s an example
You see your doctor and your blood pressure is taken. The results are not in the desired targeted values, just like the one you took at home or at the pharmacy.
Your doctor increases the dose of one of your medications and/or adds another one to the list. What he does not know is that you often forget to take your medication. Moreover, in the last three days, you have not taken them. The measured blood pressure value therefore does not reflect your pressure under medication.
When you start your medication again with an increased dose or begin the new one, it may not be convenient for you and may cause your pressure to be reduced too much, as well as increasing the risk of side effects.
# 2 Irregular intake of your medicine can have serious consequences on your health.
Your medications are prescribed for a good reason. They can help prevent a health problem or treat one. Often, you do not feel their beneficial effects unlike other types of medication like painkillers, for example.
Omitting to take your medication puts you at risk of developing potentially fatal health problems in the short, medium or long term.
Let's see some examples of consequences:
A- Short term: You have had a heart attack; a stent was placed in the vessels of your heart to "unblock" the artery. Two of your medications are used to thin your blood and prevent clot formation near and around the stent.
Failure to take one or both of these two anti-platelet agents puts you at risk in the next few days and weeks of blocking your new stent and thus causing another stroke, damaging your heart at another level or leading to death.
The main cause of a stent thrombosis, or the sudden blockage of the coronary prosthesis, is stopping antiplatelet drugs.
The main cause of stent thrombosis, ie a sudden blockage of the prothesis, is stopping antiplatelet drugs without doctor’s agreement.
B) Medium term: You suffer from atrial fibrillation and therefore take medicines to clear the blood as well as to control your heartbeat.
If you fail to take or stop by yourself your medication to thin your blood, you are at risk in the coming weeks, months and years to having a stroke.
This stroke could leave you with only light or no consequences, but it could also, among other things, paralyze you, remove your autonomy and give you memory or speech problems.
Stroke is the major complication associated with atrial fibrillation and the risk increases with age. You must never stop your anticoagulant yourself.
C) Long term: Your blood pressure is high, and you must take medication to control it.
You do not have many symptoms related to your high blood pressure and therefore, do not take your medications regularly.
Usually, the consequences of this behaviour are not felt for several years.
The risks related to uncontrolled pressure are, for example, death, heart attacks, strokes, progressive loss of vision and impaired function of your kidneys, which may lead to dialysis.
Read more: Taking your medication; 3 elements in play