Why Patients Refuse To Take Prescribed Medication

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Why Patients Refuse To Take Prescribed Medication

Prescription medications receive a lot of attention for many reasons—and not all attention is good attention. However, care providers must be aware of their patients’ thoughts and feelings regarding their medications. Every day, more patients refuse to take their prescription medications. Below, we discuss the reasons why and how to navigate these trying medical circumstances.

They Feel Overwhelmed

Noncompliance in accepting or taking the prescribed medications can often come from a complete system overload. When a patient has multiple medications they must take, one or all of them can intimidate the patient and lead to an absolute refusal. Now, whether this refusal is conscious or subconscious is subjective.

Sometimes patients don’t realize they’re on medical overload, so they make an executive decision and determine which prescriptions they will omit and which they will continue taking. A great way to help combat these issues is to implement the use of a patient-controlled analgesia pump for some medications and implement manual administration for others. Breaking up how patients receive their prescriptions can help mitigate potential refusals.

They Cannot Afford It

An increased financial burden is an incredibly common reason patients refuse to take their prescribed medications. When one cannot afford something, one simply does not buy it. It’s no secret that prescriptions can financially weigh on patients, mainly when insurance and cash payments come into play.

A care provider can suggest or prescribe medication that the insurance provider can deny while at the pharmacy. For some patients, this means leaving empty-handed and foregoing treatment.

They Are Distrusting Of the Care Provider

The time it takes to fully trust a care provider is lengthy. This process isn’t always feasible for a patient either, depending on the circumstances. For example, an established relationship with a PCP may have more trust than when you’re being cared for by the on-call doctor you’ve just met in an emergency situation.

Trusting that the on-call doctor has your best interest in mind is relatively challenging, and the prescribed medication won’t be a quick fix to turn a patient. This distrust results in patients refusing to take the medication, typically by not filling the prescription.

They Are Asymptomatic

When a care provider suggests medication for various symptoms or illnesses, it can be difficult for the patient to take them when their symptoms or illness are not blatantly apparent. This refusal also ties into the patient not trusting the care provider and plays a role in the patient not trusting their own needs.

It’s essential to note that just because someone is asymptomatic doesn’t mean they do not need medication. Many mental health struggles do not present as a physical ailment, but with a lack of treatment, they can become physically detrimental.

No matter the reason, refusing medication can change a person’s healing ability. If you receive a prescription you’re hesitant about, partner with your provider to discuss the medicine in question, their reasons for prescribing it, and proper dosage instructions.