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Are You Adhering to Your Prescription Drug Regimen?

March 28, 2013 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Adhering to medication means taking the medication correctly, as instructed by a health care professional. This includes filling and refilling the prescription, taking it regularly, and continuing to take it for as long as prescribed. While this may seem simple, the World Health Organization has reported an average medication adherence rate of only 50 percent for people with chronic illnesses in developed countries. So, why is only half of the population taking their medicines as prescribed? Moreover, why is it important to adhere to your medication regimen anyway? Read on to find out why it’s important and how you can improve your adherence.

Why Adherence Matters?

Simply put, it can improve your overall quality of life. Evidence suggests that for many chronic illnesses, higher medication adherence reduces hospital visits. Fewer visits to the hospital mean lower medical costs as well.

Adherence to medication may be ‘easier said than done’ for many people. There are a variety of barriers that may make it difficult for patients to follow their medication therapy. Here are a few of those barriers and suggestions for how to get around them.


Often times, patients just cannot afford their medications. Perhaps there are alternative drugs available that do not cost as much. Talk with your prescriber or pharmacist. They may be able to help you find a more affordable drug.

You can also visit the Medtipster website,, to determine the cost of a prescription. The tool can help you compare the price on related drug products.

Side Effects

Your medicine may trigger unpleasant side effects, causing you to stop taking it. Talk to your doctor about these side effects. They may be able to switch you to a different medicine to reduce the side effects. They may also have suggestions for minimizing the side effects. Your doctor has your best interest in mind and is a knowledgeable resource to help improve your quality of life.

Feeling Better

There are five pills left, but you started to feel better and decided to stop taking your medicine. Before you stop, talk to your prescriber. Stopping early may cause more health problems. For instance, if a patient has a bacterial infection and stops taking his or her medicine early, some bacteria may still be alive. These bacteria could start a whole new strain of resistant germs. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2009). Even though you may feel better, try to continue to take your medicine(s).


Make taking your medicine a part of your daily routine. Once you are used to taking your medicines regularly, it will not seem like a burden on your lifestyle. Buying a pill minder dispenser may help; it’s an easy daily reminder to take your medicine. Write down a schedule of when to take your medicines or add it to the calendar on your electronic device.

Health Care Beliefs and Attitudes

Some patients hold certain beliefs or attitudes that stop them from being adherent to their medication regimen. For example, a patient may believe that taking a medication as prescribed will not lead to a predicted outcome or that a particular disease state is not significant or will not lead to severe untoward outcomes. Talk with your prescriber about your beliefs. He or she may have more information about your illness and medicine than you know.  Your prescriber can tell you why it is in your best interest to adhere to taking your medicine(s).

Adhering to your medicine can improve your overall quality of life, so take care to adhere to your prescribed medication regimen. For a better result, you will be glad you attended to your health.

Tips for Traveling with Medications

December 06, 2011 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings Source: Eli Trathen 12.6.2011

Everyone looks forward to vacation, and a good deal of planning goes into most trips to make the experience as relaxing as possible. This planning may involve booking a hotel, purchasing traveler’s checks, and packing the sun block. However, one more concern that must be remembered affects millions of Americans. Namely, people need to be aware of how to travel with prescription medications, and what one should expect if the need for a prescription medication arises while away. When away from home for an extended time, it is advisable to think about your medications.

Before You Go
Prepare a list of all of your medications and a list of contact information for your doctor(s). Carry the name, location, and phone number of your pharmacy as well. If questions arise about your medications, or if you lose your prescription, you will have the needed information.

If you are flying, keep your medications in your carry-on luggage. That way, you will have access to them during your flight and will not lose them if your luggage is lost. Also, keeping your medications with you helps prevent exposure to extreme temperatures in the baggage compartment. Extreme temperatures can change the drug’s effectiveness.

If travelling with needles and syringes, carry information that proves the syringes were prescribed for a medical reason by your doctor. A copy of your prescription and a label attached to the product is sufficient proof. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes be prepared to provide airport security with copies of prescriptions for diabetes medications and supplies, as well as complete contact information for your doctor. Make sure all prescription medications have the name of the drug, the name of your doctor, and your name on the label.

Airport security requires that medications are transported in their original, labeled containers. The labeled vial from the pharmacy that contains your pills meets this requirement. Check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website prior to travel for the most up-to-date information about travelling with medications. Airport security may ask you to prove that the name on your prescription bottle(s) matches your identification. According to the TSA:

  • Medications must be labeled, so they are identifiable.
  • Medications in daily dosage containers are allowed through the checkpoint once they have been screened.
  • Medication and related supplies are normally X-rayed. TSA allows you the option of requesting a visual inspection of your medication and supplies, which you must arrange before the screening process begins. The X-ray process has not been found to affect drug products.

Long Distance Travel
Consult with your doctor or pharmacist if traveling over many time zones to work out a plan to adjust the timing or dosage of your medications. He or she will also be able to determine whether a plan is necessary given the medications you are taking.

If you are visiting a foreign country, be wary of buying over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Many medicines that are available by prescription only in the United States are available OTC in other countries. Beware of these medications, as they may have been manufactured in facilities that do not meet Food and Drug Administration code. You may receive a medication with less effectiveness; or, even worse, you may receive the wrong drug. Taking these medications could put you at risk.

Extra Medications
Take along more medication than the number of days of your trip. A good rule of thumb is to have at least an additional week of medication on-hand. Unexpected delays can happen, and it will be easier for you to have one less thing to worry about should this happen. It is best to have all of your medications refilled before you travel. If it is too early to get a refill before you leave, but you will need more medication while you are gone, ask your doctor and pharmacist if they will refill early as a special circumstance. If you are not leaving the country, remember that large, national pharmacy chains allow you to refill your prescription wherever you happen to travel nationwide.

While You’re There
If you are visiting a hot, humid climate, try to keep your medications in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight. While many people assume bathrooms are a good place to store medications, this is not necessarily true. The heat and humidity in bathrooms can cause a drug to lose effectiveness. Be aware of medication storage requirements for the medications you take on your trip. All medications are labeled with an ideal range of temperatures for storage. Some medications require refrigeration when stored. This may be done by packing the medication in a small cooler with ice and a thermometer to ensure the temperature is kept at an appropriate level. Likewise, you may ask your hotel if a small refrigerator is available to help with your drug storage. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about the best method of travelling with these more sensitive drugs.

Another climate consideration is increased sensitivity to sunlight. Some medications can cause a rare side effect, called photosensitivity, which could cause inflammation of the skin (similar to sunburn). Products like ciprofloxacin (for infections), Bactrim and doxycycline (antibiotics), and diclofenac (for pain) have this potential. Ask your pharmacist if any of the medications you are or may take on vacation could cause photosensitivity. Try to avoid excessive sun exposure, and cover up with SPF 30 or greater sunblock.

Hopefully, using the above tips for traveling with medications will allow you the relaxation you deserve on your next vacation.

Don’t forget to take your meds! The costs of non-adherence are staggering.

March 29, 2010 By: Jason A. Klein Category: Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Medtipster Source:;;

Don’t forget to take your meds! The costs of non-adherence are staggering.

Jason A. Klein, Medtipster President

Life is expensive. You work for a living. Your employer offers health insurance. You’re a diabetic. Your doctor prescribes Glucophage (Metformin Hydrochloride). The average monthy cost is roughly $97.00 (or $8.99 for the generic at Rite Aid….Thanks!).

Now, what happens if you forget to take or refill your medication? That’s easy. Blue Cross & Blue Shield likely saves $97.00. WRONG. The correct answer is: You get sick and the non-adherence to your medication costs on average 100 times more. According to a study published in August by the New England Healthcare Institute, non-adherence costs the U.S. $290 billion in added medical spending each year. Mortality rates are twice as high among diabetes and heart disease patients who don’t take their pills properly, it said.

A Cambridge, Mass.-based startup called Vitality Inc. took note of the New England Healthcare Institute study and is gearing up to offer an extremely innovative solution. Not only that, but they have brought along AT&T, one of the nations largest communications providers, along for the ride. Their solution: A pill bottle cap that keeps track of when and how often it is opened. If not opened according to the pre-programmed clinical specifications, you will be notified via the AT&T network. The cap can also be programmed to notify your spouse, parents, or children. You can run, but you can’t hide! We, at Medtipster, love this innovation. See full press release below:

Vitality GlowCaps Utilize AT&T Wireless Network to Improve Prescription Medication Adherence
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and DALLAS, March 23 /PRNewswire/ — Vitality, Inc. and AT&T announced today that AT&T will provide the nationwide wireless network connection for Vitality GlowCaps, intelligent pill caps designed to help patients take medications regularly, provide peace of mind for loved ones, and solve the billion-dollar adherence problem for pharmaceutical companies, retail pharmacies, and healthcare providers.
The AT&T-connected GlowCaps fit on standard prescription bottles and use light then sound reminders, which can be followed by a phone call or text message so people don’t miss a dose. Each time the pill bottle is opened adherence data is recorded and securely relayed to Vitality over the AT&T wireless network. This daily adherence information is used to compile periodic progress reports that are sent to patients, caregivers and doctors, and family members.
Using sophisticated pattern recognition, Vitality uncovers the key motivational levers for each individual, and then tailors programs to activate these levers and break through whatever barriers exist. Data generated by GlowCaps can be used to automatically refill prescriptions as pills deplete.
“For the first time in the healthcare industry, we can use minute-by-minute adherence data to motivate healthy behavior,” said David Rose, CEO of Vitality. “The AT&T wireless network enables Vitality to know when people do and don’t take their medication, then send reminder calls, compile progress reports, and refill people’s medications before they run out.”
“GlowCaps offers a very intuitive solution to an ongoing issue in the daily lives of many consumers,” said Glenn Lurie, president, AT&T Emerging Devices and Resale. “We look forward to providing the network connection for GlowCaps, delivering timely wireless data that will assist consumers in sticking with a prescription regimen, keeping them connected with doctors and family members, informed and on schedule.”
Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Replace the “R” with a “T” and We’ve Got “Genetic” Drugs. Really?

March 02, 2010 By: Tylar Masters Category: Prescription News

Genetic testing could be the answer to lowering adverse side effects and ineffective prescriptions from doctor to patient.

You can get a personalized license plate. You can buy a personalized birthday card. You can even buy a personalized fortune cookie. And soon you could be buying a personalized prescription?

It happens a lot, a doctor prescribes a medication to a patient, and it simply doesn’t work. Then it’s back to the doctor, another prescription, in what feels like a “trial and error” situation. This could all soon be a thing of the past.

Genetic testing can determine a person’s reaction to a particular prescription medication. How some drugs cause adverse side effects in one group of people, and work wonders in other people, is strictly a matter of a gene group difference found between the two groups of people. Imagine if doctors knew before writing a prescription exactly how the medication would affect the patient. Problem gone!

Individualized treatment of prescription medication sounds complicated. However, the big drug companies support this theory that personalized medications would cut costs and ineffective prescriptions dispensing. What are your thoughts? If a simple genetic test would clarify which prescriptions will work best for you, would you take the test?


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