Please, stick to any medication prescriptions you’ve

Mostly not attached to faith, but as a result of indolence or an hatred for pharmaceutical drugs – many have worsen the states of their health for negligence to keeping up with medication prescription.

As a matter of fact, many had lost their lives due to the simple task of taking drugs as at when due: truth be told, majority of people are guilty of this, except that there is someone around to monitor a patient’s timely use of drugs – the remnant may be thrown out the moment such patient notices a slight improvement in his/her health. Whereas, the prescription would be to finish all the dosages.

It was revealed by Practice Fusion in an article, titled, Thinking outside the pillbox: Enabling patients to stick to their medication plan that “To the tune of 125,000 deaths and (a whopping sum of) $300 million, medication non-adherence is a growing concern to clinicians and the healthcare system. In fact nearly two thirds of re-admissions are due to medication non-adherence”. [1]

It, however, recommended the use of technological interventions, because to improve adherence is rare in routine clinical practice.

Outcome of noncompliance with medication prescriptions

Many people are good and quick to do self medication once they notice some imbalance in their health – they would swallow paracetamol or some other drug they see another person using (prescribed because the drug is compatible with the person’s health condition), whereas, it may not be good for another person.

Unfortunately, some quack health practitioners, also, jeopardise patients’ health – like in the case of a Corps member who was posted to Kano State, Nigeria, Oladepo Ifedolapo – who was, later, rumored to have died of kidney infection. Initial report has it that, the deceased, a graduate of Transport Management from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, had first appeared at the Camp clinic with complaints of headache and fever two days on arrival into camp. On examination, the doctors on duty noticed rashes on her legs which she claimed started appearing as a result of her use of a second-hand knicker she had bought without first washing it.

The Doctors at the Camp clinic then treated her with Arthemeter 160mg, Piriton tablet and Paracetamol for the fever and malaria and released her to go back to the hostel.[2] Soon, complications started, and then, she died.

How to prevent complications of noncompliance with medical prescriptions

Practice Fusion, in an attempt to reduce fatalities arising from the negligence to medical prescriptions – presented some remedies to both patients and medical practitioners, as follow:

ü Gamify the importance of adherence

The benefits of taking medications regularly are not readily apparent to many patients, especially, with medications that are more preventive in nature. Instead of only teaching, try gamification.

·       The new PatientPartner mobile app aims to boost adherence by giving patients a “choose your own adventure” game while waiting in the doctor’s waiting room. The player decides what to do about a fictional patient’s health. In one clinical study, use of the app improved medication adherence by 37%.

·       Virtual pillbox mobile apps like Medisafe allow all medications to be entered along with their color and shape. Push notifications ensure that doses are not missed, and if they were missed by more than an hour, a friend can be notified.

ü Talk to the bottle

The most innovative tools in adherence management are the ones that connect to the medication itself. They also give the most accurate and objective data about doses taken.

·       Remotely monitor inhaler usage for asthma and COPD patients with Propeller Health. This device attaches to most inhalers and tracks when and where the inhaler is used. The data captured can help individual physicians and public health agencies to make more informed clinical decisions.

·       Find out when pills are dispensed with tools like CleverCap. Now available in certain areas, this device can replace the cap on most pill bottles. It both reminds and monitors when patients take their medications.

ü Leverage pharmacy features

Up to 30% of patients never pick up their prescriptions, and depending on patient’s needs, certain pharmacies can help get the meds in-hand better than others. E-prescribing sends the order, but pick up and refill reminders are crucial for some patients. With your patient, select a convenient pharmacy that uses one of the following features:

·       Text messaging reminders. Patients need to opt-in to receiving SMS text alerts for pickup and refill reminders.

·       Mail order: pharmacies will send registered patients’ medications directly to the home, and many will (automatically) refill where authorised. For chronic medications, write for a 90-day supply so that patients could save money and time in arranging for refills.

ü Smartphone-based solutions

Even the most savvy of patients miss doses, and a simplified regimen helps to keep this to a minimum.

·       Text message reminders can help to create a simple routine for taking a new medication, especially if the time of day was important.

·       Reminder apps are a more robust option for reminders, especially if a patient would be taking multiple medications at different times. Apps like MedCoach allows a patient to enter all of their medications by name and can even connect patients to their pharmacy for refills.

A word, they say, is enough for the wise: like an adage in Yoruba, ‘If yam is pounded in groundnut shells, some will be filled, some will not’. What you do with the information at your disposal far outweighs the numerous information you keep chasing around.

Decide to live right, today!

[1] Practice Fusion, Thinking outside the pillbox: Enabling patients to stick to their medication plan.

[2] Adetola, Bademosi, Late Corps member Ifedolapo died of kidney infection – NYSC.

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