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Sticking to the Plan

Why taking your prescription medication as prescribed is so important

Image of Shawna Kraft, Pharm.D
Shawna Kraft, Pharm.D.

Have a question for the pharmacist? Email us at ThriveMagazine@ med.umich.edu.
Do you take your medication exactly as prescribed by your health care provider? If you do, congratulations! You are medication compliant or adherent.

However, non-adherence can occur very easily and most likely happens to everyone from time to time. Whether it is on purpose or by accident, missing doses can lead to your medication not working as well as it could.

Some common reasons for non-adherence:

  • Simply missing a dose
  • Side effects from the medication
  • Concerns about possible side effects
  • Concerns about long term effects
  • Don’t think you need the medication anymore
  • Don’t think the medication is working
  • Difficulty managing all the medicines you take
  • Missed doses because of a busy schedule
  • Tendency to forget things in your daily life
  • Financial concerns about medication costs
  • Pharmacy was out of the medication
And, there may be other reasons.

Everyone can forget to take a dose. Don't be embarrassed to simply let your care team know. Your issues are valid, and there are often solutions available to help, such as pill boxes, financial assistance and treatment for side effects.

Taking your medications as directed is important. If it does seem that the medication isn’t working or if you're experiencing side effects, your providers can make decisions assuming the medication was taken as prescribed. This will result in the best treatment plan for you.

Everyone at the Cancer Center is here to help you treat your cancer and symptoms. You, as the patient, are the center of that care. We need you to speak up and be honest so we can help you the best way we can.

If you're not sure where to start, check out the Food and Drug Administration tips for speaking to your pharmacist.

Read Thrive, Winter 2015

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Thrive Issue: 
Winter, 2015