When it comes to medications for the heart, skipping doses can be costly. It's estimated that thousands of Americans have avoidable heart attacks each year because they neglect to consistently take the cholesterol-lowering statins prescribed by their doctors. A 2007 study of heart patients suggested that skimping on prescribed medications can double the risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular events.
People have many reasons for skipping doses: forgetfulness, wariness of side effects, and the high cost of some medications, to name a few.
- Make your medicine schedule as simple as possible. Plan times to take your medicines when you are doing other things, like eating or getting ready for bed.
- Talk with your doctor if you are having problems with your medicine schedule. Your doctor may be able to change your medicines or the times you are taking them.
- Talk with your doctor if you have any changes in your health that might affect your heart condition, such as side effects of medicines or a medical condition.
- Use any tools, like daily or weekly pill containers, that make taking your medicines simpler.
"I can't feel my medications working," says Shannon Schroeder, 37, who lives near Seattle. She takes beta-blockers to treat an arrhythmia and a blood thinner to prevent stroke, and occasionally wonders what they are doing to her.