A research survey conduct found that among 1,000 adults one in three said that they would rather shorten their life by up to 2 years than take a daily pill for the rest of their lives to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. One in five also said they would be willing to pay more than $1,000 to avoid taking a pill every day.
There should be no surprise with this study given that patients generally do not adhere to prescription drugs. As one of the researcher Dr. Robert Hutchins points out "What we were really trying to measure is how much the act of taking a pill -- obtaining it, remembering to take it, and actually taking it -- interferes with one's quality of life," He further went on to say "Even ignoring the side-effects of pills, the act of having to take a daily pill can have a large effect on an individual's quality of life."
More than 8% of respondents said they were willing to trade 2 years of life to avoid daily heart drugs, while roughly 21% said they would trade from 1 week to 1 year of life.
Roughly 13% said they would accept minimal risk of immediate death to avoid taking a pill every day, while 9% said they would risk a 10% chance of death. Another 62% said they would not be willing to gamble any risk of immediate death.
One in five patients (21%) also said they would pay $1,000 or more to avoid taking a pill each day for the rest of their lives, and just over 10% said they would pay between $5,000 and $25,000. Close to 43% said they would not pay any amount.
In general, dislike of daily pill-taking was greater among older and nonwhite respondents, those currently taking multiple daily pills, and those reporting difficulty in obtaining medications.
In a research conducted by physician Lisa Rosenbaum, she explored the reasons for patient reluctance to take preventive medications following an MI. Dr. Rosenbaum noted that many patients she spoke with saw the need for medication as proof of their failure to achieve health goals through lifestyle modification.
"Lifestyle modifications are an essential aspect of treatment after myocardial infarction and can empower patients to take control of their health," she cited. "The challenge is that adopting healthy behaviors may be perceived as a substitute for medication."
Rosenbaum said clinicians still have little formal training in how to communicate this message to their patients, and this contributes to the problem.
"Communication is not treated like a science and it should be," she said. "Giving patients more information is not always the answer. We need to deliver the information in more effective ways."
Moreover, Hutchins and his colleagues cited several limitations to the study: test-retest reliability was not evaluated, participants might have been thinking about pill costs or side effects even though they were told not to, and the results may not be generalisable to daily medications for reasons other than cardiovascular disease prevention.
So what does this study tell us? I see here that patients are frustrated or maybe looking for other options than just taking pills on a daily basis. With that said doctors ought to take note. It is clear prescribing medications to patients does not seem to be effective as the research findings indicate.
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