5 Wise Reasons To Take Your Medication Exactly As It Was Prescribed:

Pill box for medication

February is “Script Your Future Month” which challenges Americans to “Take the Pledge to Take Your Meds”. Taking your medications as directed is an important step toward a longer, healthier life. Click the following link to create your own personal pledge and remind yourself of all the reasons you have to stay healthy and take your medicine. http://www.scriptyourfuture.org/take-the-pledge/

In general, there are at least 5 good reasons to follow your doctors’ orders when it comes to taking your prescriptions:

1. To stop or slow your condition’s progression. Of course your physician may have prescribed a medication for you to treat whatever ails you. These ailments might be short-term (a cold or the flu), recurring (allergies or injuries), or chronic (hypertension, diabetes, etc.). Regardless of the time frame of your condition, you have a better chance of being healthy if you take the medication the way the doctor wants you to. If you miss doses or stop taking it all together you risk a return of the ailment, often worse than before.

2. To prevent disease complications and hospitalizations. Another reason doctors prescribe medication is to improve your chances of avoiding an ailment. If you are at risk for a complication from some condition you have, why not take a medication that could prevent or delay you from getting that complication (like diabetics who take kidney protective medications to prevent commonly associated renal disorders)? But again, you have to take the medication exactly as the doctor ordered it or it will not serve its full purpose.

3. To improve quality of life by limiting disability and discomfort. A third reason for a physician to prescribe a particular medication for you is to improve the quality of your life. Some folks don’t take pain medication as it is prescribed because they don’t want to become addicted to it, but living in pain reduces the things they can do. If you take a medication, even for pain, the way the physician tells you to, you won’t become addicted to them, and you will reduce the stress your body is enduring to deal with the ailment. You may have a nicer demeanor, be able to participate in more fun activities with family and friends, or even do household chores yourself instead of having to hire someone else – which could save you money.

4. Reduce healthcare related costs (for both you and your community). If you take medications for any of the above reasons, and you take them exactly as they are ordered, you will keep yourself healthy. This can substantially reduce your health care costs by avoiding other medications, doctor visits, or hospitalizations. It also helps your community because you are not spreading communicable diseases, so other folks don’t have to spend their money to treat that condition. If you get your flu-shot, and/or pneumonia-shot, you help yourself and your community in the same ways.

5. Prevent, or at least reduce likelihood of, premature death. Finally, if you take your medications as the doctor has prescribed you will very simply be healthier. Being healthier will, of course, reduce your risk of premature death due to ill health.

For further reading, check out these resources:

Be Well, Be Wise,


Dr. Rebecca Wise

Wise Words…. is a general medical information column from Dr Rebecca Wise. Dr. Wise has a master’s degree in education as well as her doctorate in pharmacy. She is an assistant professor and ambulatory care specialist at a Medication Therapy Management (MTM) clinic in Erie, PA.

Soon to be released is Dr Becky’s new website which will address women’s issues, watch for it: www.WiseWordsforWomen.com

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