Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Taking Medicines as Prescribed

Font Size

Overcoming Barriers to Taking Your Medicines

People don't take medicines properly for many reasons. If you're having problems taking your medicines as prescribed, it may help to think about why you're having trouble. When your reasons are clear, you can find ways to deal with the problems. This may make it easier to take your medicines as your doctor wants you to.

Here are some common concerns about taking medicines, along with some ideas for dealing with them.

Recommended Related to Drugs and Herbs

Drugs in Our Drinking Water?

Tiny amounts of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, hormones, mood stabilizers, and other drugs -- are in our drinking water supplies, according to a media report. In an investigation by the Associated Press, drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas were found to include drugs. According to the investigation, the drugs get into the drinking water supply through several routes: some people flush unneeded medication down toilets; other medicine gets into the water supply...

Read the Drugs in Our Drinking Water? article > >

Concerns

"Medicines cause side effects that bother me."

"The medicine makes me feel worse."

"I think the medicine is making my health problem worse."

What you can do

  • If side effects bother you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor may be able to prescribe another medicine or suggest ways to reduce side effects. For example, if an upset stomach is a problem, ask if taking the medicine with food will help.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about medicine interactions. One medicine you are taking may change what another medicine does. This can cause worse side effects or make a problem worse.
  • Ask your doctor if there are medicines you should not take. This includes supplements and herbal products.

For more information, see the topic Dealing With Medicine Side Effects and Interactions.

Concerns

"Medicine costs too much."

"I don't have insurance."

What you can do

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Is there a lower-cost medicine you can take? Can you use a generic medicine? Does your health plan offer lower-priced options? He or she may have other ideas that could save you money, such as buying in bulk or splitting pills.
  • Shop around. The cost of a medicine can vary from one drugstore to another. You can also look into mail order and using the Internet.
  • Call social services or religious groups for possible help, or get in touch with Medicaid, a government program that may be able to help you with medicine and treatment.
  • Some drug companies offer help. Search the Internet for the drug or company name and "patient assistance program." If you're not sure about your medicine's name or who makes it, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Make sure you are taking medicines that are covered by your health plan, if possible.
  • Make lifestyle changes to improve your health. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and less fat and getting more exercise may help your health problem. This could mean that you need less medicine. Less medicine means lower costs.
  • Don't use less of your medicine, such as taking half a dose or using it every other day. It's very important to take the medicine as your doctor tells you.

For more information, see the topic Reducing Medication Costs.

Concerns

"It’s hard to keep track of so many medicines."

1|2|3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

tea
What you should eat.
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
colon xray
Get the facts.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
fruit drinks
Foods that can help you focus.
Sad dog and guacamole
Don't feed this to your dog.
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.