Dr. Matt Davis, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Community Health, said medications can help people live with not just acute illness and injuries, but with chronic diseases, too, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Detroit— State health officials and experts on aging reminded seniors and others Tuesday the importance of medication adherence.
Held at the pharmacy department inside the Meijer on West 8 Mile in Detroit, Mark Murray, company vice chairman and co-CEO, said managing an illness takes more than simply getting a prescription.
“You have to use it,” Murray said.
Dr. Matt Davis, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Community Health, said medications can help people live with not just acute illness and injuries, but with chronic diseases, too, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Two generations ago, both were a death sentence for those diagnosed with the medical conditions, but they now can be managed with medication taken as prescribed, said Davis, a pediatrician and internist in the University of Michigan Health System.
“I frequently get the question from my patients, ‘Do I really have to take this every day?’ The answer is yes, because it can help us stay in better health than if we didn’t take it every day.”
Tina Abbate Marzolf, CEO Area Agency on Aging 1-B and president of Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan, said the two most important ways to keep living at the highest quality of life is healthy eating and taking medication properly.
Marzolf said one reason some older adults don’t take their medication is cost. She added there are several prescription programs for those with a low income to get their medication at little or no cost.
The news conference follows a Detroit News’ report Monday about medical professionals locally and nationally saying prescription noncompliance is a growing issue. Many patients struggle with adhering to regimens that are — depending on the severity of the illness — complicated, expensive and can cause substantial side effects. And some patients, doctors say, just don’t trust what they’ve been prescribed.
A 2011 study by two physicians from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found nearly half of the nation’s patients do not take medication as prescribed even though it has been shown to be effective in combating their chronic and often deadly diseases. Several other medical journals have chronicled the problem in recent years, too.
At the Detroit Medical Center officials estimate 30 percent or more of patients are admitted to the emergency room because they failed to take prescribed medicines.
Detroit News Staff Writer Leonard N. Fleming contributed.