Millions of Patients Not Taking Rx Drugs Properly, Report Finds
Millions of U.S. residents with chronic conditions either do not take medications correctly or stop taking them altogether, according to a report to be released this week by the National Council on Patient Information and Education, the AP/Peoria Journal Star reports.
According to the report, people who initially are symptom-free are particularly at risk. For example, about half of hypertension patients follow their prescribed drug regimen, even though high blood pressure triples the risk of heart disease.
The report also finds that adherence is an issue that crosses age groups and that the possibility of severe consequences for not taking recommended medications is insufficient to guarantee proper use.
Poor adherence could be costing the nation as much as $177 billion in medical bills and lost productivity per year, and it is associated with up to 40% of nursing home admissions, the report finds (AP/Peoria Journal Star, 7/31).
Some experts say that the wording of directions for drug dosing is too confusing, the typeface on the labels is too small and the instruction materials 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 Quality is planning a campaign to improve treatment adherence, according to director Carolyn Clancy. She said, "We go into this with some humility," adding, "It's really pretty appalling how badly we do" (Neergaard, AP/Houston Chronicle, 7/30).