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
The next time your doctor writes you a prescription, consider this: The medication may not be approved for your specific condition or age group.
But you probably shouldn't call the medical board. The practice, called "off-label" prescribing, is entirely legal and very common. More than one in five outpatient prescriptions written in the U.S. are for off-label therapies.
"Off-label" means the medication is being used in a manner not specified in the FDA's approved packaging label, or insert. Every...
"I think the medicine is making my health problem worse."
What you can do
If side effects bother you, talk to your doctor
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
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.
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.