“T2D patients often struggle with a high pill burden as one medicine alone isn’t always enough to achieve glycaemic control. As the disease progresses, managing blood glucose levels and associated comorbidities such as hypertension and hyperlipidaemia become increasingly challenging, necessitating multiple therapies.”
Solomon points out that a heavy pill burden is common among the elderly suffering from multiple metabolic disorders, often prescribed upwards of eight pills daily.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines patient adherence as the extent to which a person follows their prescribed medication regimen, diet, and lifestyle changes. Doubts about medication efficacy, lack of information about medication, and how to take it contribute significantly to non-adherence.
Improving Medicine Adherence
For those battling metabolic or chronic illnesses, Solomon shares the following tips to improve medicine adherence and health outcomes:
- Understand the purpose of the medication.
- Evaluate the importance of the medication for your health.
- Explore alternative options.
- Know how to take and store the medication.
- Be aware of the side effects.
- Recognize signs that the medication is working.
- Understand the implications of stopping the medication.
- Find out if it interacts with any over-the-counter medication.
- Know what to do if a dose is missed.
- Learn about any precautions when taking the medication.
If you feel overwhelmed by the number of medications you are taking, Solomon recommends discussing potential de-prescription of unnecessary medications or combination therapy with your doctor.
“Dosage flexibility, or the use of medication with a special release mechanism that allows for one tablet to be used over a 24-hour period instead of twice daily, can also be explored. It’s important to ask the right questions about your treatment regimen to understand your options.”
Solomon concludes by emphasizing the importance of medication adherence as we age, suggesting the use of pill boxes and other organization methods to ensure correct and timely dosage. “Taking your medicine as prescribed is vital for controlling chronic and/or temporary conditions and for overall long-term health and well-being,” says Solomon.