pill tracking

4 Reasons Patients Do Not Follow Their Prescribed Medication

Patients who do not follow their prescriptions have a smaller chance of recovering from their ailments. According to the World Health Organization, nonadherence to medication accounts for half of treatment failures. 

Because of patients who do not follow the required intake as scheduled, the US experiences a 25% increase in hospitalizations and 125,000 deaths each year. It is also considered one of the worst problems in the industry. These deaths and hospitalizations can be prevented. Patients can only get better if they strictly follow their prescriptions. 

Understanding the Cause: 4 Reasons Patients Succumb to Medical Nonadherence

The best way to find solutions is by understanding the root cause of the problems. Here are the top reasons patients fail to take their medications and how to address them:

1: They Fear the Possible Side Effects

Medicines, although helpful to treating diseases, can also have adverse effects on one’s body. Older patients with severe conditions, in particular, feel some fear of side effects from the large intake and high frequency of medications. Some may have anticipated these side effects, while some may have experienced them from previous treatments. 

Some may have heard stories from other people, and some may have witnessed a family member or friend undergo the side effects. All these could lead them to believe that the required drugs can bring them more harm than good.  

What to Do: Proper education, including transparency about possible effects, is necessary. Inform the patients why their prescriptions are essential and what the results will be if they decide to do otherwise.

2: They Do Not Have the Budget to Maintain It

Here is one sad reality about medicines: they do not come cheap. Even though some patients want to be consistent with their intake, they simply cannot. Some cannot finish the required frequency, while others cannot follow the appropriate dosage. 

What to Do: Doctors should consider the patient’s insurance when prescribing medication. Recommending medicines under their insurance formulary can save them money and encourage consistency of intake. 

3: They Do Not Think It Is Necessary

Another common reason patients do not follow what is prescribed is their lack of understanding. This case is especially true for patients with chronic illnesses who think that the medicines cannot help them in any way.

What to Do: Besides a detailed explanation of what is happening in their body and how the medicine can help improve their situation, doctors should also give them an idea of how long it will take to notice health improvements. Make sure that the patients themselves understand what is going on and not just their caretaker or relative.

4: They Take Too Many Medications

The risk of forgetting what medications to drink at a particular time comes from having too many medications to take. Repeatedly taking medicine can also be tiring for some patients. 

What to Do: The doctors can make small adjustments to their prescriptions. They can consolidate intake to one day by grouping drugs according to dose or schedule. They can combine products to reduce the number of meds patients need to drink. Long-acting drugs can also space out the frequency of intake. 


It is crucial to look into the root cause of medical nonadherence. In this case, learning why patients avoid their prescription can help you better understand where they come from. From there, you could think of innovative ways to meet their needs.

MedManage is a medication tracker app that can also help address patient’s medical nonadherence problems. This app includes a wide range of features, including a daily medication log, notifications, reminders, and text chat or video consultation with a pharmacist. Download the app now. 

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