Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Don't I Take My Medication?

Each and every week I have to give myself an Enbrel shot.  Every morning I have to take two pills.  Every night I have to take at least seven pills. I am also supposed to give myself a B12 shot once a week.  When my Crohn's is acting up I take two pills four times a day and then get to grind up and take two more pills three times a day.  If you add up what I am supposed to take, it barely leaves me time to do anything else!  This doesn't include various other pills and shots if other "issues" come along. 

Sometimes I am really bad at taking my medication, like today.  I was supposed to be taking my Crohn's medication but today I have been lazy so now I have terrible heartburn.  Hey, the medication is a pain in the neck!  Who can remember to crush up and take medication 1/2 hour before they eat?  It is a chalky substance that I mix with water and drink down.  Yummy!  If I forget to take it 1/2 hour before I eat, I have to remember to take it 2 hours after I eat.  Convenient!  Who can remember that?  I only remember to take it if I already have heartburn but then it is too late!

Recently I read an article that talks about the Medication Rebellion titled Skipping your Meds? in Arthritis Today Magazine (March/April 2011).  It points out the three barriers to taking medication consistently:
  1. Cost.  The cost of the medication dictates if patient will take it.  Higher the cost, the less the patient takes the medication.
  2. Complexity of the medication regimen.  Who wants to do a multi-step process to take a medication?
  3. Beliefs about medication.  If a patient feels the medication is not doing anything for them or worries about side effects, they may not take the medication.
As M. Robin DiMatteo, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, was quoted, "People get tired of having a chronic disease. Maintenance and management take a lot of energy, and it keeps reminding you that you have the disease."

As I know (and find out with each bout of heartburn) skipping my medication is not good for me.  One way I have overcome forgetting taking my Enbrel is using a gimmick.  I watch TV on Sunday nights so I have a plan that during the 9 PM show I take the medication out of the refrigerator, then during the 10 PM show I give myself the shot.  I guess need to have a gimmick for taking the Crohn's medication.  I need to conquer my Medication Rebellion. 

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