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Following Doctor’s Orders More Likely with Longer Prescriptions

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The longer your prescription length, the greater the chance that you might actually stick to the advised medication regimen — especially when those drugs are matters of the heart.

Prescribing senior patients heart medications for 60 days when discharged from a hospital makes it four times more likely that they will adhere to the prescription regimen compared to prescription lengths of 30 days or fewer, according to a study printed within the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Simply put, the longer your prescription length the better your compliance in taking the medication, and online pharmacies can provide up to 90 days of prescription drugs.

Conducted at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women’s College Hospital (WCH), the study followed the medication adherence of more than 20,000 older patients with coronary artery disease. Although 50 percent of prescriptions written were for seven days, notably longer prescriptions were tied to a higher adherence to the medical plan. The study also found that most patients left the facility with prescriptions for fewer than 30 days.

“The majority of patients in our study left hospital with a prescription for cardiac medications for 30 days or less,” said Dr. Dr. Noah Ivers, the study’s lead author and a family doctor at WCH. “This may be a result of the common clinical perception that short prescriptions encourage patients to go to their followup appointments, yet our study found regardless of the duration of the prescription, nearly all patients did, in fact, attend their followup appointment.”

The paper contends that longer prescription times will encourage better adherence and will not adversely affect followup appointments.

Forcing aged patients to visit their heart surgeon or family doctor regularly to renew prescriptions is merely exasperating the matter. Although indefinite dosage changes are not typical, increasing the period of a prescription for heart medications can result in important advantages for patients.

This post comes from Saul Kaye, IsraelPharm’s in-house pharmacist with more than 15 years of experience in community pharmacy in Israel. Questions? Email Saul!

 

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