A reluctance to follow the doctor’s medication prescription is unfortunately fairly common, particularly amongst patients who suffer from chronic conditions. This is worrying, especially since 2009, the number of elderly Singaporeans with three or more chronic diseases has almost doubled from 20% to 37%.
This can lead to the conditions worsening, drug resistance, and increased overall healthcare costs. Oftentimes, the decision not to take their medicine is intentional, based on their knowledge, experience and beliefs.
Reasons for not taking medication and what can we do
Medication side effects
Speak to the doctor assertively instead of sounding like a “complain”. Assert that the side effects are intolerable and another treatment must be found. There are alternative treatment options available and these side effects do not need to be part of our lives.
Forgetting to take medication
Take medicine at the same time every day to develop it into a routine. Place the medication at a visible location but out of the reach of children. It also helps to have a pill container to remember if a certain dose has been taken for the day.
Stopping medication after feeling better / Rejecting medication as it is not working
As some chronic conditions like high blood pressure do not have obvious physical symptoms, it may be hard to tell if the medication is working. Stopping a course of medication prematurely or altering the dosage can be dangerous, as it can lead to symptoms returning or worsening. It is important to trust your doctor on the treatment plan provided. If you have any concerns regarding your medication, you should always discuss it with your doctor before making changes.
Cost of medication and treatment
High cost of medication may be a deterrent to adherence with the prescription. However, there are often less expensive generic alternatives available that can work just as well – speak to your doctor to explore your options. You can also utilise the CHAS program for Singapore citizens to offset chronic conditions treatment cost with your MediSave. Consult a CHAS-approved doctor online on Doctor Anywhere.
Skip the clinic queue, and speak to a CHAS-approved doctor online on Doctor Anywhere.