Not taking heart medications can lead to serious effects
You go to your doctor, receive a prescription and never get it filled. For heart disease patients, particularly those with high blood pressure (hypertension), this is a frighteningly common occurrence — one with potentially serious consequences.
As many as half of the 187 million patients with hypertension in the U.S. do not take their medications as prescribed, according to the American Heart Association.
Nonadherence to cardiovascular medications is pandemic and is a leading risk factor for treatment failures and poor outcomes.”
“Nonadherence to cardiovascular medications is pandemic and is a leading risk factor for treatment failures and poor outcomes,” says Saba Khan, MD, an interventional cardiologist at AMITA Health Cardiovascular Associates.
“There are a number of reasons why a patient may not take medications as prescribed, and more often it is a combination of factors,” Khan says. Reasons include the complexity of the drug therapies, socioeconomic status, poor communication between provider and patient, and patient factors including forgetfulness and physical or cognitive impairments.
Here are some tough-to-swallow statistics about heart patients’ failure to adhere to treatment plans.
Erin O’Donnell is a freelance health and science writer, parent, and graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Walks by Lake Michigan make her happy.