Treatment Termination: What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Medications?

Picture “prescription drug problem” and you probably imagine people taking medications they don’t need. But our society also has the opposite problem— many people fail to take medications that they very much need! A staggering 125,000 Americans die each year from failing to take essential medicine, while millions more become seriously ill. It is thus essential that we all take essential medications consistently and make sure our loved ones do as well. But that starts with figuring out why people stop taking medications and what the consequences are of doing so:

Surmising Why People Stop

People skip their medications for a number of reasons, including:

  • Prescription Overload- Many patients are prescribed multiple medications to take regularly. The more drugs someone is prescribed, the harder it is to keep track of them all, let alone to remember how often and in what doses they need to be taken.
  • Severe Side Effects- Some medications have unpleasant or even dangerous side effects, making patients unwilling to take them. In some cases, it makes sense to stop a drug with harmful side effects. But patients should always consult their doctors before doing so.
  • Lack of Impact- Patients who don’t notice any immediate effects from a particular medication may decide it’s not worth taking.

Understanding why people stop taking medications is critical for convincing them to continue them. So whether you’re on an important medication yourself or you have a loved one who is, it pays to keep this in mind, along with:

Side Effects of Stopping

The side effects of stopping a medication depend on what that medication is, but can include:

  • Worsening Symptoms- Certain chronic conditions are easy to manage if patients take their medicine consistently, but can spiral out of control if they don’t. For example, patients with diabetes who fail to take their medications run an increased risk of nerve damage, vision loss, vascular issues, and a host of severe, potentially-fatal consequences.
  • Repeated Illnesses- Sometimes, medications are necessary to prevent a dangerous past health issue from reoccurring. For example, patients who have had heart attacks are often prescribed blood pressure medications. If they don’t take them, they could have additional heart attacks.
  • Additional Care- Even if patients avoid the catastrophic effects of stopping their medications, they’ll likely have to visit the hospital or a clinic again to deal with more minor effects. They’ll thus need to pay more for healthcare, and may require invasive treatments that would otherwise have been unnecessary.

Atkinson’s Pharmacy Group is well aware of these consequences and helps patients avoid them all. By compounding your medications together, we make it easy to take all of them on time. We also provide 30-day medicine strips that help you keep track of when to take each prescription. For more information, visit our website today.