Why You Should Take Your Medicine as Prescribed | Treatment Care & Tips

Treatment Care & Tips

Why You Should Take Your Medicine as Prescribed

It's not always easy to take your medicine regularly. You may not understand the directions, forget to take it or there may be unpleasant side effects. You may also have trouble paying for your medicine.

However, sticking to your medicine routine is very important. This means taking your medicine at the right dose, at the right time and in the right way. Not taking your medicine as prescribed by your doctor could lead to your condition getting worse, a hospital stay or even death.


Medicine saves the lives of many Americans. However, half of all people with a chronic disease do not take their medicines as directed or stop taking them within one year. Stopping prescribed medicine causes 125,000 deaths per year in the U.S.1


Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol cannot be managed well without medicine. And not taking your medicine can lead to bigger problems and a lower quality of life.



Chronic high blood sugar levels can lead to severe and even permanent damage. It’s important to take your diabetes medicine to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. High blood sugar increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, digestive or dental problems, and limb amputation2.


High Blood Pressure

Only 51 percent of patients with high blood pressure keep taking their medicine as a long-term treatment1. Your blood pressure will likely rise again if you stop taking your medicine. You will be at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney failure – all of which can greatly increase your risk of disability or death.


High Cholesterol

Even with a healthy diet and regular exercise, many people still require medicine to manage cholesterol levels. If you stop taking the medicine, your cholesterol may return to unhealthy levels and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke3. Plus, your risk of death increases if you stop your medicine routine within one year of starting it1.


Taking your medicine is a very important part of managing your chronic condition. If you’re struggling with taking your medicine regularly, see the tips below to help you stick with a routine. You can also visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website for tools and resources.


  • Take your medicine at the same time every day.
  • Try taking your medicine with a daily routine like brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed.
  • Keep a “medicine calendar” and note each time you take a dose.
  • Use a pillbox with multiple sections and refill it at the same time each week.
  • Buy timer caps for your bottles and set them to go off when your next dose is due.
  • Bring enough of your medicine, plus a few days extra, in case you’re delayed while travelling.
  • Keep your medicine in your carry-on bag if you’re flying.


If you have questions about your medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Do not stop taking it or change it without talking to them first.

  1. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/special-features/why-you-need-take-your-medications-prescribed-or-instructed
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/people-with-diabetes-skipping-their-meds-to-save-money#1
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/should-you-stop-medications-that-lower-your-cholesterol-698153


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