In-Office Patient Education Q&A
Answered December 10th, 2009 by Expert:
As you know, patient compliance is a tremendous challenge for the pharma industry. Unfortunately, although all drugs have benefits, many also have potential unwanted side effects. While side effects vary for each drug, we find that the general compliance message is the same: Patients should not stop taking their physician-prescribed medication without talking to their doctor first and, in fact, abruptly stopping medication could produce other side effects as well as be dangerous to a patient’s health.
In all of our patient education programs, we stress the importance of healthy dialogue with a patient’s physician. This certainly holds true with concerns about side effects. It is imperative to inform the doctor if a patient is not following the treatment plan for his or her condition so adjustments can be made if necessary. The doctor may also be able to make recommendations to help a patient cope with adverse effects or to set expectations about which side effects are only temporary.
Patients must remember the health outcomes they are hoping to achieve and why their physician originally prescribed the medication they are questioning. While fear is what drives their non-compliance, education is what will diminish their concern. Understanding the way a medication works to combat their condition, along with talking to their physician about ways to minimize the impact of the side effects, will create a more empowered patient who is ultimately more compliant.
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