Medication Adherence in the 3rd World

I just ran across an article from Examiner.com, which appears to be an on-line publication out of Hawaii. The article sites a study done in Turkey in 2012 (which I don’t know how since we’re not quite there yet) wherein 750 patients with high blood pressure try to find answers about why these patients don’t take their medications as prescribed. I doubt that there are very many differences between high blood pressure patients and those with other diseases… unless it’s a memory related disease.

An astonishing 57.9% of these patients did not take their medications. By far the biggest reason was that they forgot. That includes living alone. Then, in descending percentages:

  • Then cost of the meds
  • Lack of transportation
  • Didn’t like the side effect

I don’t really know if Turkey is a 3rd World Country. I’ve never been there. But it doesn’t feel like we’re on a level playing field. But here’s the bottom line: It doesn’t take very much for us to quickly become a 3rd world like region when we’re faced with catastrophes such as the giant hurricane, Sandy, or a large earthquake type disaster. It’s easy for me to sit in my den, watching such things on my TV and computer. It’s quite another to face the harsh realities confronting the people in NY who have no electricity for 3 weeks… or food, heat, clean water, gasoline, transportation, or maybe even a place to live. What then becomes of people with a disease like hypertension (high blood pressure)? Clearly, without the necessary medications my blood pressure would rocket under such conditions. If your house has flooded or burned down, most likely, your medications have gone too. And without transportation, how do you get to the pharmacy… if it’s still there?

Our Health Care insurers don’t like to give us more than 30 days worth of meds when we refill our prescriptions. With cost as one of the bigger reasons why people don’t take their meds, perhaps health care concerns might want to reconsider that policy.

We, as individuals, need to keep a supply of meds stashed somewhere we can get to when we face such an emergency. For many of us our meds are as necessary to our health as good food and water. Consider a “vacation” supply, and then cycle through them so that they don’t expire.
Hopefully we each have the ability to make a plan so that we don’t get caught in a 3rd world type disaster… even when we’re right at home.
Forgetfulness was the number one reason that people gave for why they didn’t take their medications. Medtexter.com can send you reminders.

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