Medication Adherence: A Letter to Patients
A Letter to Patients from Millennium’s Director of Value-Based Pharmacy
Dear Valued Patients,
Taking your medications as prescribed is an important step in preventing complications from your chronic health conditions. Complications from diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol can be severe and may even increase your risk of hospitalization and poor health. That’s why your care team at Millennium Physician Group is dedicated to optimizing your medication regimens on a regular basis.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately one in five new prescriptions are never filled, and among those filled approximately 50% are taken incorrectly, particularly with regard to timing, dosage, frequency, and duration. We know it can be easy to get off track, especially if you’re managing multiple medications each day. At each visit, your provider will go over all the prescription medications you take. You may find it helpful to bring ALL your medication bottles (including those “over the counter”) with you to the appointment to get the most out of this conversation. We encourage you to talk to your physician and care team during and in between appointments about ANY concerns that you may have with your medications.
Common Barriers Include:
- Side effect concerns
- Refill request delays
- Feeling like you have too many medications or too many doses per day
- Feeling like your medication is not needed or is not helping
- Not knowing why you take it and how – not following the label directions
Tips to Stay on Track:
- Get organized with a pill box
- Set pill reminders
- Request/accept family/caregiver support
- Seek peer support
- Take advantage of important services available at your pharmacy:
- Pharmacist consultation
- 90/100-day supplies for your long-term medications
- Automatic refill – avoid gaps in medication
- Refill reminders
- Mail order or delivery
- Digital notifications
- Early refills for travel or weather emergencies
Remember, medication adherence barriers are common, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Our providers and care teams are dedicated to listening to your concerns and finding a medication regimen that meets your individual needs. We also have a team of clinical pharmacy professionals working behind the scenes to monitor and support this goal. For most chronic drug therapies, a minimum of 80% adherence is needed to achieve the most clinical benefit. That means that even missing your medication two out of seven days per week may decrease the effectiveness.
One of our clinical pharmacists recently reached out to a patient who was significantly overdue in refilling his Rosuvastatin, an important medication used to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. The patient expressed multiple barriers he faced with taking his medication as prescribed. He shared that he often forgot to take it and would also occasionally skip his dose on purpose due to side effects. He also admitted he wasn’t quite sure why he was taking it in the first place. The pharmacist reviewed the purpose of the medication and emphasized the importance of adherence, drawing on the mutual goal of preventing a second heart attack. She also worked with his primary-care provider to adjust the dose of the medication as well as recommended a pill box on his kitchen counter and a dose reminder system to get him back on track. The patient also took advantage of 90-day supplies covered by his drug plan to decrease the number of trips he would need to take to the pharmacy throughout the year. All of these solutions combined put that patient one step closer to achieving his best possible health outcome.
This is just one example of a medication adherence success story within Millennium Physician Group. If you are experiencing barriers to taking your medications as prescribed don’t wait for your next scheduled office visit. Connect with your physician and care team today. Millennium Physician Group… Your connection to a healthier life.
Brittany Orr, PharmD, BCACP
Director of Value-Based Pharmacy
Millennium Physician Group
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