Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way your body uses fat. When you have diabetes, it develops resistance to insulin, causing high blood pressure. This requires a strict medication regime to be followed by long-term use of pharmacotherapy. Many patients are prescribed complicated diet routine, exercise, and medication that might even include several pills a day. Although these medications are effective in curing the disease, yet strict adherence to the treatment regimen is the key factor in treatment and its results. The efficacy of the drug can only act if it is properly taken by the patient, but unfortunately, that’s not the case!
As per the International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2015, approximately 69.2 million Indians are diabetic. Among patients with chronic illness, approximately 50% do not take medicines as prescribed.(ref. 1)Even those who are willing to adhere, among them also Patients recall only about 50% of what is discussed during the medical examination. (ref. 2) This low adherence to medication results in increased illness and death. Medical adherence is the most crucial aspect of any medical treatment a. Non-adherence only leads to poorer health conditions and high health care costs.
There can be countless factors contributing to non-adherence of a strict medical regime. These may include, but not limited to, the lack of health education, lack of gravity of the disease its adverse effects, doubtful about the benefits of treatment, non-involvement in patient decisions, non-availability of medicines, Side effects of medicine, cost of medicines, limited office visit time, etc.
Since barriers to non-adherence vary, the solutions to improve adherence should be multifactorial. Living with diabetes is not easy but some important steps towards improving medication compliance can play an integral role in helping overcome these barriers. Let us have a look at some of them in detail:
Steps Towards Improving Medication Compliance for Chronic Ailments like Diabetes:
1. Patient Education
A major step in improving medication compliance can be educating the patient about the disease and help him understand the gravity of its adverse effects. Patients are motivated to avoid smoking and other unhealthy diets and are encouraged to exercise and control blood glucose.
2. Involvement in treatment decisions
Another step is involving the patient in deciding the treatment he wants to undertake. It is all about informing him about all the possible treatments and then empowering hi to decide to go with the one.
3. Availability of medicines at a discounted rate
Well, a lot of pharmacies are able to provide medicines at a low mark up on cost because of low overhead cost. This results in the availability of medicines at a discounted rate.
4. E-Health Initiatives
E-Health has been a major evolution in the world of health technology. The doctors and patients get a platform to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare. It also educates patients in prevention, detection, treatment, and an ongoing support of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, etc. Electronic prescriptions are an added advantage for they reduce the probability of errors in the distribution of drugs.
5. Online Pharmacy
The availability of online pharmacy has been a major step in improving medication compliance for chronic ailments. Using a trusted and coherent online pharmacy can help the patients in adhering to the prescribed medical regime. You can save a fortune while shopping medicines for the lowest costs online. This is achieved due to the optimum utilization of resources, lower price markups by discount pharmacies and lower overhead costs compared to retail pharmacy outlets. Purchasing online is not only cheap but can also help you maintain your privacy. There might be medications that you are comfortable buying online only. At times you find it difficult to be physically present from your busy schedule to buy the medicines. Online pharmacies can be your savior by helping you buying the medicines and still save your time, maintaining adherence to the prescribed medication. You can even find some useful medical information about some common drugs on these online pharmacies. [People Also Like: Digital Health & Wellness -What is the Definition of Digital Wellness?]
- ( Lee JK, Grace KA, Taylor AJ. Effect of a pharmacy care program on medication adherence and persistence, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2006;296(21):2563-2571)
- (Schillinger D, Piette J, Grumbach K, et al. Closing the loop: physician communication with diabetic patients who have low health literacy. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(1):83-90)
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