Campaign urges patients to finish their prescriptions

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Prescription medication can save lives if it’s taken correctly. But the problem is many people do not follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to taking their drugs.

On Wednesday, Univera unveiled a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of “medication adherence.”

Univera Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Vienne said, “Medication adherence is a fancy word for taking your medications as directed.”

The health care provider introduced a superhero named “Tad” – for “take as directed” – to point out that medicines have super powers too, if you take them correctly. So what are the reasons why you wouldn’t?

“Cost, difficulty getting to the pharmacy, side effects of medication, they feel fine, or might forget to take the medication or they’re confused by the directions,” Dr. Vienne said.

What’s the penalty for not taking them? It’s estimated that a 125,000 Americans die each year as a consequence of poor medication adherence.

For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol don’t hurt, and taking the medicine doesn’t make you feel better, so many people have heart attacks that could have been prevented. Diabetes doesn’t hurt, either.

Dr. Vienne said, “I’ve seen it in diabetics in my practice, where they just feel fine; they don’t want to take their insulin any more. That can’t happen.”

The mental health consequences are also enormous.

Douglas Fabian of Crisis Services of Buffalo said, “We see people in their homes, we see people in their communities, at the workplace, who may be not doing well – psychiatrically, emotionally – and about 60 to 65 percent of the time its because they’re not taking their medication properly.”

Pharmacists know when you don’t refill your prescriptions, and they have an important role in explaining why you should.

Scott Monte of Mobile Pharmacy Solutions of WNY said, “I think our job as pharmacists is to be that intermediary; get them to understand the rationale behind that, reinforce what the doctor told them.”

To learn more about Univera’s campaign, click here.

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