Your own “necessity beliefs” are key to your medication adherence being successful.

I just read an article in LINK HERE: HCP Live which Suggests that doctors can help patients Perceive the necessity for taking a particular drug by telling the patients that they the medication they are prescribing is an important drug for the patient to take. This is accurate, but there’s so much more to it.

I looked back on my own prescription taking history and I realize that there were many times along the way that I needed more information. I said to myself, “Why didn’t somebody just explain that to me?” For some reason doctors and pharmacists and nurses think that little piece of paper that’s included in the box that the prescription is packaged should be enough for the patient to perceive why it’s important that they take a certain drug. Nobody can understand the crap that they include in these boxes. Those stupid little throwaway papers (always printed on some thin piece of tissue paper) are, we theorize, written for strictly legal reasons to protect the pharmaceutical company that made it. This is likely partially true, but it does dismiss part of legitimate reason it’s in the box. In our experience we also perceive that if it’s important then its printed on a thicker and well designed paper. It’s also probably glossy. Glossy and thicker have to do with things they’re selling you. You’ve already bought the medication.
Perhaps we need to take a different approach. Rethink why it’s so easy for us to dismiss the importance that I’m taking these medications. One of the reasons that it’s so important is that a full 50% of all medications that are issued by doctors are taken incorrectly or not at all. This creates a huge medical crisis in our country. There are lots of health organizations that are trying to figure out how to get past the perceptions of just a few individuals who think all meds are bad. They’re not. Most meds are quite helpful.

The consequences are enormous. Xtalks reports that a confab of doctors are convening in Toronto later this month to discuss this subject. There are many doctors in the field of Ongology who believe that newly developed therapies, called oral oncolyitics, will replace chemotherapies for a number of cancers. The difficulties are that patients are so non-adherent with so many drugs that if the patients skip their cancer fighting meds that they’ll be at much greater risk. You will, after all, go to visit a medical facility to take your scheduled dose of Chemo, but you won’t stay at home and reliably take a pill. Taking a pill at home is much more convenient, it also may turn out to me much more effective. Medication adherence is so critical that these doctors are gathering to figure out how to tell you why it’s so important that you, the patient, take your meds. And, in the future, there will be more and more targeted pill based regimens that will be utilized as cures for other potentially deadly diseases.

Yes, doctors need to tell their patients that taking their meds on time and as directed really matters. I would like to suggest that we as individual patients take a new Entrepreneurial approach. If we individual patients are looking to succeed in our Medication Project and maybe we should look at it as though we’re starting a new business. First, start your own fictitious company that is dedicated to finding ways for you and your family to be the as healthy as possible. Give it a personal… something like “Sandra Health, Inc.,” or “Smith Family Health.” Then we create a board of directors: You, your partner and your doctor, and maybe the oldest child. Then we come up with a Mission Statement, maybe “This enterprise exists to keep our family members in the maximum level of health possible.” Then we create a simple business plan: 1. Eat healthy foods, getting specific about what and when; 2. Exercise at least 5 times a week for 20 minutes or more, getting specific about individual goals; 3. Get regular checkups, making sure that you fully understand your doctor’s directions, including the medications he/she directs you to take. 4. Go to and sign up each of your family members who take meds so that you’ll get those important reminders; 5.Take the meds that our doctor prescribes. It’s imperative that all family members understand and buy into the plan.

Think past what you might have questioned in your past. ”If I’m starting a business then I have to think about the things that we need to achieve to make that business successful.” Having thought that through, we’d go about hiring the people that are the most qualified to accomplish the goals we’ve set. We would, if we were truly looking to succeed, not hire friends or surround ourselves with people that would tell us the things that we want to hear. Yet that’s the equivalent of what we’ve done most of the time when it comes to our internal messages about the necessity of taking our prescribed drugs. We talk to our friends who probably do not understand as much as you do about your own healthcare.

It seems that many of us allow ourselves to listen to our well-meaning neighbors and to hear our own voices with messages that it’s alright not to take the meds we’ve been prescribed. The HCP Live article says, our “necessity beliefs about medication,” These self induced thoughts can overpower the oft unspoken message that “I wouldn’t have written this prescription for you if it wasn’t important for you to take as directed.” This clash between one’s own inner necessity doubt and the Doctor’s unspoken message of necessity result in the patients ability to ignore. That’s a bad result. Nobody else is more responsible to for maintaining your health than you; your Mission Statement says so.

If the goal of our imaginary entrepreneurial enterprise is to maintain our own health, then we have to remember to take our prescriptions as directed by our doctors. We need some a method to be responsible for taking our own meds on-time, everytime. Because taking our meds on time matters to your health.

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