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Why Taking Your Meds as Prescribed is Important

Here's how and why you need to take medication the right way.

pill box

When you take your medications exactly as your doctor prescribes, it’s called medication adherence or compliance. That means you’re taking the medicine in the right amounts, at the right times and for the right period of time. If you don’t take them as prescribed, it can be costly to your health — and your pocketbook.

So what's the big deal?

Medicine works best when it's taken as directed. Missing doses, taking medicines at the wrong time or stopping medications may be especially risky for people with chronic disease.

In part, your wellness depends on taking your medications on time and as prescribed. Talk to your doctor about ways you can stay compliant — so you can help yourself stay healthy.

Tips to help you stay on track

  • Keep a checklist of all the medications that you take. Include how much you take, when you take it and whether you need to take it with food or other special instructions. Keep one copy on your refrigerator door and one in your wallet.
  • Take your medications at the same time each day.
  • Try to set a routine for taking your medication and follow it—for instance, tie brushing your teeth with taking your medication.
  • Use a daily dosing pillbox. This has days-of-the-week compartments that can help you stay on track.

Remember, never stop taking a medication without asking your doctor, even if you feel better. If you take the wrong dose or miss a dose, call your doctor for instructions. If you think the medication is causing you problems, call your doctor.  People can have a life-threating allergic reaction to a medication, though this is very rare. If this happens, call 911.

By Linda Formichelli, Contributing Writer

American Heart Association. Medication adherence - Taking your meds as directed. Accessed: November 22, 2017.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Why you need to take your meds as prescribed or instructed. Accessed: November 22, 2017.
National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging. Safe use of medicines. Accessed: November 22, 2017.

Last Updated: November 22, 2017