I take my medication. Do you?

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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 examining data collected on adherence to treatments, nearly 50% of patients with chronic illnesses (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) do not take their medications regularly.

Are your pieces of information correct?

There are several reasons that lead to stopping or erratic consumption of medication. It is not uncommon to hear, “Doctor, I stopped taking your pill because it gave me too many side effects. Since then, I feel better!”

Or, “Your blood-thinning pills caused nosebleeds, so I discontinued them, and the problem is resolved.”

Moreover, many people conduct research on the Internet and find all kinds of information about drugs, some of which may be true or false. They decide to stop taking them on that basis.

Several problems can arise from this lack of regularity or discontinuation of a drug, which is why your doctor and pharmacist emphasize the importance of consistent and regular treatment.

# 1 Adjusting your treatments may depend on it

During your appointment with your doctor, he or she usually reevaluates your treatments after receiving the results of analyses and various examinations (such as a physical examination, blood pressure reading, medical imaging, etc.).

If you do not take your medications regularly, your doctor may make adjustments for incorrect reasons. These changes may not have been necessary if you had been taking your medication as prescribed.

Here’s an example:

You visit your doctor and your blood pressure is measured. The results are not within the desired target range, similar to readings taken at home or at the pharmacy.

Your healthcare professional decides to increase the dose of one of your medications and/or add another one to your regimen. However, what your doctor doesn’t know is that you often forget to take your medication. Additionally, you haven’t taken them for the past three days. As a result, the blood pressure reading obtained does not reflect your blood pressure while on medication.

When you resume taking your medication with an increased dose or start the new one, it may not be suitable for you and could potentially lower your blood pressure too much, 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 may not feel their beneficial effects as you would with other types of medication, such as 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 examine some examples:

  • Short term:

Suppose you’ve had a heart attack, and 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 inside 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, potentially causing another heart attack, damaging your heart at another level, or even leading to death.

The main cause of stent thrombosis, ie a sudden blockage of the prothesis, is stopping antiplatelet drugs without doctor’s agreement.
  • Medium term:

Imagine that you suffer from atrial fibrillation and therefore take medicines to thin your blood as well as to control your heartbeat.

If you fail to take or stop your blood-thinning medication without medical guidance, you are at risk in the coming weeks, months and years to having a stroke.

This stroke could leave you with minor or no consequences, but it could also, among other things, cause paralysis, impair your independence, and lead to memory 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.
  • Long term:

Your blood pressure is high, and you must take medication to control it. You may not experience any symptom directly related to your high blood pressure, , leading you to neglect taking your medications

Typically, the consequences of this behaviour are not felt for several years.

The risks associated with uncontrolled pressure include, for example, death, heart attacks, strokes, progressive loss of vision and impaired function of your kidneys, which may eventually necessitate dialysis.