May 2, 2017 – Following Rx


Anchor lead: Not taking medicines correctly is a big source of healthcare costs, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Almost half of all medicines prescribed for chronic problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure aren’t taken correctly, a recent study found. Alicia Arbaje, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, isn’t surprised.

Arbaje: Some people take their medications incorrectly because they just don’t know. That’s certainly something we can modify in the health care system. But some people are not taking medications correctly because of beliefs around what that medication is doing for them or a misunderstanding over why they’re supposed to be taking it or because they have concerns about taking medications they don’t believe in them or they feel it somehow reflects poorly on them in some way. So I as a physician always first ask what are your beliefs and concerns about the medications that you’re taking right now? :31

Arbaje says her own clinical experience with hospitalized adults affirms the idea that many of them could have avoided hospitalization if they had taken medications appropriately. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.