Why Prescription Drugs Don’t Work


How many patients never fill the prescription for a medication given to them?

A. 2%

B. 5%

C. 13%

D. 22%

E. 30%

F. 68%

Believe it or not, its E. 30%.

A study published in the Jounal of the Americal Academy of Dermatology found that nearly 1 in every 3 people never fills the prescription medication that was written for them!

There are many reasons why. The most important is that there was a breakdown of trust between the physican and the patient. If a patient does not feel that his or her doctor’s diagnosis or treatment plan is helpful, then he or she will be unlikely to fill the prescription. Also, if a patient does not understand the diagnosis or treatment, then it’s unlikely they will be compliant with taking their medications.

Even if the patient trusts the doctor and understands the treatment plan, prescriptions are expensive! If you have a limited budget and the prescription for a rash costs $75, you might have second thoughts — do you really need to treat it?

Most of the chronic skin conditions I see in clinic could be treated if people used their prescription as directed. However, like eating a good diet, excercising, and getting 8 hours of sleep, taking prescriptions is difficult.

  • Physicians have to take the time to properly diagnose you and to ensure that you understand your condition and how to treat it.
  • Your physicain should ask questions at the end of the appointment to ensure that you understand. Getting a hand-out with written information about your condition, about your medication, and instructions on how to use your medication is also important.
  • Physicians should also consider cost; sometimes choosing a generic medication is much better than the  name-brand because the patient can’t afford the new medication. Using a generic medication is in most instances just as effective as a name-brand and is certainly more effective than not using a medication at all.
  • Having patients return to clinic within a week or two of a new diagnosis is also a great way to reinforce medication use and to help encourage patients to continue their therapy.
  • As patients, it is your job to help yourself. Keep a written record of when you have used your medications. Be honest of course.
  • Set your medications aside in a weekly pill box so that you are sure to take your all your pills everyday.
  • Make note of how many days you did not take your pills in the last week.
  • Most of the time when a medication seems to stop working, it is because you have stopped using it. Seeing your physician for a new prescription is often more likely to waste time and money than it is to make a difference in your condition.

4 thoughts on “Why Prescription Drugs Don’t Work”

  1. It can be very disheartening to see a patient who cannot afford the medicines prescribed but clearly needs them. I sometimes find myself paying the medication bill or giving out samples. Generics are a big help. I wonder if compounding special medications in pharmacies is still big. Do you find yourself writing prescriptions for compounded medications at times? Are they expensive?

  2. Hey, cool tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that person from that forum who told me to go to your blog 🙂

  3. Any idea if there are similar blogs like this related to read?

Comments are closed.