Millions Of Patients Not Taking Prescription Drugs Properly

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Millions of U.S. residents with chronic conditions either do not take prescription drugs correctly or stop taking them altogether, according to areport to be released this week by the National Council on Patient Information and Education, the AP/Peoria Journal Starreports.

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According to the report, people who initially are symptom-freeare particularly at risk. For example, about half of hypertensionpatients follow their prescribed drug regimen, even though high bloodpressure triples the risk of heart disease. The report also finds thatadherence is an issue that crosses age groups and that the possibilityof severe consequences for not taking recommended medications isinsufficient to guarantee proper use. Poor adherence could be costingthe nation as much as $177 billion in medical bills and lostproductivity per year, and it is associated with up to 40% of nursinghome admissions, the report finds (AP/Peoria Journal Star, 7/31).

Someexperts say that the wording of directions for drug dosing is tooconfusing, the typeface on the labels is too small and the instructionmaterials are given in too many formats, according to the AP/Houston Chronicle. In an effort to curb the problem, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Qualityis planning a campaign to improve treatment adherence, according todirector Carolyn Clancy. She said, "We go into this with somehumility," adding, "It's really pretty appalling how badly we do"(Neergaard, AP/Houston Chronicle, 7/30).
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