Medication Adherence and Chronic Conditions

We sat down with Matt Godwin, a pharmacist from Chicago, Illinois, to talk about the importance of medication adherence when treating a chronic condition.

Why is medication adherence so vital to caring for a chronic condition?

Medication adherence is of vital importance when treating chronic conditions. By adhering to your medications, it allows you to properly manage your chronic condition. This can help prevent unnecessary disease progression and in turn could potentially decrease medical cost and increase patient quality of life.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see with people adhering to their medication?

There are many factors that may prevent patients from properly taking their medications. Some of the more commonly seen reasons include:

  • Side Effects – Fear of side effects produced by multiple medications often cause patients to avoid taking them
  • Forgetfulness – Busy schedules as well as patients who suffer from dementia or other memory loss conditions increase the risk of missing doses
  • Cost – Rising cost of a medication is often a huge barrier for many patients
  • Lack of information on medication – Patients often take medications without having any knowledge of what they treat and how they work. Due to this lack of knowledge, they may feel that the medication is not very effective or could not be working at all.

What advice would you tell people who have trouble sticking to their prescription schedule?

One of the most important aspects to medication adherence is keeping an open dialogue between patients and their providers. This open dialogue could help prevent potential medical problems by ensuring the patient takes their medication properly.  If the patient is having issues with their medication, including side effects and adherence problems, they are able to directly express their concerns to their providers and have any questions or problems addressed promptly.

What questions should patients ask their doctors about medicine to make sure they are properly educated?

Being educated on your medication is of vital importance to ensure medication adherence. Some key questions to discuss with your provider include:

  • What am I taking this medication for?
  • How do I properly take this medication? (i.e. when do I take the medication? Do I take it with food or a beverage?)
  • What are the common side effects?
  • When should I seek immediate medical attention?
  • How often should I follow up with my provider? 


Have you ever struggled with medication adherence? How did you turn it around? Share how you managed to improve this in the comments!

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