Why aren’t you taking your medications?

Interesting article from this past week’s New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum, cardiologist in Boston, about why patients don’t take their medications. She describes her conversations with several patients who had myocardial infarctions and why they aren’t taking medications as prescribed. Dr. Rosenbaum touches on several factors that may contribute to this:

  • Visualizing the benefit: Dr. Rosenbaum refers to studies that showed higher rates of adherence to anti-platelet therapy than other medications like beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. The idea of keeping their “pipes” (aka stents) open with medications such as clopidogrel may be easier to understand than visualizing the effects of ACE-inhibitors on heart remodeling and blunting the renin-angiotensin system. Can we help our patients visualize the benefits of medications that aren’t as intuitive?
  • Avoiding dependency: Many patients feel like failures when having to be on medications. As if they have lost control of their lives (i.e. health) which is why lifestyle modifications is so appealing for many people. However, there are some modifications that can’t take the place of medications – how can we help patients adhere to medications without contributing to a feeling of helplessness.

Check out the article below:

Beyond Belief – How People Feel about Taking Medications for Heart Disease