Compliance is more than taking your drugs, but taking it the way it is prescribed. Which includes; taking the right dosage, using prescription as at when due and stopping prescription as instructed by your clinician. It has been estimated that half of those for whom medicines are prescribed do not take them in the recommended way.
I will be reviewing some reasons behind non-compliance to medication and more importantly their consequences. However, irrespective of what your reasons for non-adherence might be, it is safe not to alter your prescription unless you are directed otherwise.
SOME CAUSES OF NON-COMPLIANCE
FEAR OF SIDE EFFECT: individuals using a particular prescription may be frightened of potential side effects. They may have witnessed side effects experienced by someone else who was taking the same or a similar medication and believe the medication caused the problems. It is important to let your therapist know of any side effect experienced and swiftly stop the medication as advised.
LACK OF SYMPTOMS: when you do not feel any differently when you start or stop a medicine should not be your driving force for non-adherence to medication.
MORE DOSES ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS: it is wise not to alter your prescription for any reason.
DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH NON-COMPLIANCE
- Corticosteroids may require a gradual reduction in dose if taken long-term. If the medication is discontinued abruptly, the body does not have sufficient time to adjust, and the patient may develop adrenal insufficiency as a result.
- Amblyopia (condition whereby vision doesn’t improve even with the best corrective prescription) is the most common result of uncorrected refractive error.
- Patients taking certain antihypertensive medications may experience severe high blood pressure if they discontinue the medication abruptly. This is known as rebound hypertension.
- A recently published study found out that for a number of chronic medical conditions– diabetes, hypercholesteroiemia and congestive heart failure, lower rate of medication adherence and dietary modification were associated with higher rates of hospitalization and increase in total medical cost.
- Some special eye wears are designed to gradually fix some palsy in the eye, if proper adherence is not achieved, it could result to paralysis.
- Communicable diseases such as tuberculosis or HIV present a risk to society should a patient fail to comply with treatment, thus resulting in the development of resistant strains that may prove incurable.
- Patients with some psychiatric illness, such as; schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, may feel entirely well when stabilized on medication, but are at the risk of relapse should they discontinue.
Dr. Sunkanmi Arogbokun.