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Taking medication at the exact frequency and dosage prescribed is an essential part of managing hepatitis C. Failure to take medication as prescribed is called “non-adherence” and it can lead to severe, even life-threatening consequences. There are many reasons for non-adherence. Some people may struggle to afford the cost of their medication, so they may not fill or refill it regularly. Certain individuals may experience side effects that may discourage them from taking their medication. Others may simply forget to take their prescribed dose or order a refill.
Unfortunately, non-adherence is a common issue for hepatitis C patients. According to a recent study, about 40 percent of patients with hepatitis C did not take their medications as instructed, and rates were even higher among patients with severe disease. This may occur because the side effects of some hepatitis C drugs can be significant for some people. In addition, these drugs can be expensive, even with insurance.
If you are dealing with any of these issues, below are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that you are receiving the health benefits that come from taking medications as prescribed:
Talk to your doctor.
It’s important to let your doctor know if you are not taking your medication as directed because they may be able to adjust your treatment plan. For example, if you are experiencing severe side effects from your current medication, there may be other options available. New drugs have been introduced that have fewer side effects for many people.
Get help from your pharmacy.
Your pharmacist may be able to help you with issues that lead to non-adherence. This is especially true if you are using a specialty pharmacy. A specialty pharmacy focuses on serving patients with specific health conditions. Their highly trained staff is available to help patients by providing specialized education and assistance. For example, they may be able to find out whether you qualify for financial help that can reduce the cost of your medication. Some specialty pharmacies also offer medication reminder programs. These programs can alert you by sending you a text message or other notification when it’s time to take your medication or request a refill.
If you or someone you love isn’t taking medication to manage hepatitis C as prescribed, help is available. With all of the new treatment options and programs now available, it’s the perfect time to talk to a doctor or pharmacist about this issue.
To learn more visit www.avella.com
1. Debanjali Mitra, Keith L. Davis MA, Cynthia Beam PhD, Jasmina Medjedovic MSc, Vinod Rustgi (June/July 2010). Treatment Patterns and Adherence among Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus in a US Managed Care Population. Value in Health. Volume 13, Issue 4, 479–486.