Noncompliance is a term used in the medical field that refers to patients who do not follow instructions particularly in administering medications. Many times situations of noncompliance occur with people who do not fully understand how their medications work and are not aware of what the health consequence could occur from not following the treatment correctly.
Noncompliance is exceptionally common in the senior citizen population. Many seniors will discontinue a prescription before finishing it because they feel better. Sometimes if there is no immediate effect they might decide the medication is not working and stop taking it or even take a larger dose than is prescribed. If the side effects are bothersome or the cost is too high, noncompliance tends to occur. It is important for all people, but especially seniors to be actively involved in their own healthcare. Here are some important questions to ask your physician when being prescribed a new medication:
What is the medication called? If you are juggling several medications is it important to make sure you know the names of each one. Knowing the names can help prevent you from mixing up medications and taking wrong ones at the wrong times.
How does it work? Understanding how it works will help you get a better idea of what the drug is doing to your body. This can also help you understand the importance of taking the medication correctly.
What are the possible side effects? Knowing the side effects will help you recognize if a weird symptom you get is due to the medication or something else. If you do have any side effects make sure to contact your doctor and let him know.
Exactly how many times do I take this everyday and at what intervals? This is extremely important to know. Check out the answer to this previously asked question: How important is it for seniors to take their medications correctly?
Are there any dangerous interactions with other drugs or certain foods? Recognizing these dangerous interactions could be lifesaving. Drug misuse and overdose is now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States, surpassing that of car accidents.
How long do I have to take this? If the right dose of medication is not taken for the correct length of time, some bacteria or viruses may survive, multiply, and cause an infection to recur. This could even lead to development of resistance to the drug.
How do I store it? Medication that is not stored correctly could become ineffective or even more potent. It is important to store drugs according to the way they require so that they can be effective.
How much does it cost (with or without insurance)? This is important to know so that you can make sure to budget accordingly for your medications. If the cost is too high ask your doctor about generic brands or possibilities of medications that can fit your budget.