Medication: Why You Need to Take Them as Prescribed

Medication: Why You Need to Take Them as Prescribed

Ever get prescribed medication by an urgent care or by your doctor, and wonder why you have to take it for so long even if you start feeling better before you finish it? Well, just because you feel better does not mean that your sickness is gone.

Using medications correctly at the right time and in the way prescribed by your doctor can help keep you healthy. Not doing so can have some serious consequences. Failing to take medications correctly can not only cause the condition for which they were prescribed to worsen, but can also lead to serious complications.

Of the 3.8 billion prescriptions written each year, 50% are not taken properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), misuse can look like anything from not taking medicine at the right time to forgetting to finish the full cycle. Even further, a 2014 review of nearly 200 randomized control trials found that only half the doses of prescribed drugs were taken.

Every medication is going to have different directions for use, which is why it is important to read the label properly and take them as prescribed.

Why You Need to Finish Your Medications

When you are sick with a virus, like Covid-19 or the flu, you will not be prescribed antibiotics because antibiotics are not made for viruses. Antibiotics, however, are one of the most commonly misused medications.

Antibiotics are prescribed to help your body kill harmful bacteria, which cause things like strep-throat, bronchitis, or other infections. To understand why you need to finish your full course of prescribed antibiotics, check out this article by Sarah Bradley. 

When it comes to medications that you are prescribed for long-term, taking those medicines as prescribed is extremely important. This can be anything like a blood pressure medication, insulin, or something similar. When you are prescribed a medication that you need to take as a routine for any part of your body to function properly, not doing so can have adverse effects on the body function it aims to assist.

This article uses the example of an individual being prescribed with antidepressants. Antidepressants are a prime example of medication that needs to be taken consistently. This is because your mental health is definitely not something you want to mess with. Not taking the medication at the right time can lead to a drop in mental wellbeing. In addition, taking it too soon can lead to too much of the medication in your system.

A woman feels unwell because she did not take her medication as directed.

Tips for Finishing Your Medications

To avoid problems with your medication, follow these five rules.

  1. Talk open and honestly with your doctor and pharmacist. They can help address your concerns and answer any medication questions you may have. They are also trained to spot interactions, so telling them about all the medicine you are taking, including over the counter and supplements, is important. 
  2. Don’t skip doses or take half-doses. If cost is concern or you are experiencing side effects, let your doctor know so they can find an alternative solution.
  3. Don’t double-up on your medication if you forget. Too much medicine at one time could be dangerous. Let your doctor know if you are having trouble remembering to take your medication so they can help.
  4. Take medication until your doctor says it is okay to stop. Feeling better doesn’t mean you no longer need the medication.
  5. Never take someone else’s medication. You don’t know if the medication will interact with any other medications, you are taking or could be dangerous to your health.
Patient has confidence in taking her prescribed medication after discussing concerns with her doctor.

Remember the more you know about your health and the medications you are taking the better. If you have questions or concerns about the medicines you are taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for help.

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