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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: You Really Should Take Your Medicine

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According to an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.

Adherence to prescribed medications is associated with improved clinical outcomes for chronic disease management and reduced mortality from chronic conditions. Conversely, nonadherence is associated with higher rates of hospital admissions, suboptimal health outcomes, increased morbidity and mortality, and increased healthcare costs.

An article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings listed several factors that contribute to poor medication adherence. Some are patient-related, such as low health literacy, some are physician-related, such as the prescription of complex drug regimens, and some are related to health care systems, such as office visit time limitations.

The Department of Health and Human Services suggests providers use the SIMPLE method when prescribing medication: Simplify the regimen, Impart knowledge, Modify beliefs and Behavior, Provide communication and trust, Leave the bias and Evaluate adherence. If patients forget to ask their doctor, they can ask their pharmacist about how to take their medications,  what to do if they miss a dose and how to organize a pill box.


Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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