Before it’s Too Late — Risks Associated with Medical Non-Compliance
Medical non-adherence is a common issue amongst patients for a number of reasons. It is especially prevalent and concerning amongst patients of chronic disorders which are non-symptomatic, resulting in patients either stopping medication when immediate symptoms subside, not taking the medication at all, or only consuming them intermittently when they are feeling unwell.
There are several negative consequences associated with nonadherence to doctors’ prescriptive measures, not necessarily just with regard to medical drug usage. Primarily, nonadherence deprives patients of the therapeutic benefits that their doctor would have anticipated after a course of drugs. Further, non-compliance may result in the worsening of a condition that needs treatment, and this could lead to easily-preventable hospitalisation and consequently, higher costs associated with healthcare services.
In the case of every disorder and every therapeutic treatment, the causes of noncompliance vary; similarly, even the consequences of not following prescriptions strictly differ from condition to condition, and treatment to treatment. When patients suffer from recurring migraines and are prescribed anti-migraine drugs, the nature of nonadherence slightly differs from that of other conditions. In this case, due to unbearable pain, patients often overuse the prescribed medication, resulting in adverse effects including conditions such as Medication Overuse Headache.
When it comes to diabetes — a hormonal as well as lifestyle related disorder — the therapies prescribed can be drastically different from that of other conditions; they usually involve drastic modification in exercise habits, food habits, and overall health practices. Medications such as insulin shots are the usual method of controlling such disorders. However, when patients of diabetes do not comply with their prescribed amounts of medication, lifestyle changes, and dietary restrictions, it can be seriously harmful to their health — it may result in kidney diseases, loss of eyesight, heart disease and a number of other problems.
With patients of asthma, overuse of albuterol is not uncommon. However, this overuse increases patients’ risk of hospitalisation as compared to those asthma patients who use albuterol with less frequency. Finally, non-compliance is a problem even in conditions like high blood pressure, which if left unregulated, can have consequences such as heart attacks, strokes, and loss of vision. This article hopes to make individuals aware of the adverse effects of not adhering to the advice of trained medical professionals, and I hope that it serves as a deterrent to readers from not complying with therapies prescribed for their own benefit.