The Importance of Adherence to Prescription Medications - Rheumatologist

Dr. John Wade, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses the importance of medication adherence and alternative medications.

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Dr. John Wade, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses the importance of medication adherence and alternative medications.
Video transcript

Featuring: Dr. John Wade, MD, FRCPC, Rheumatologist Video: Solutions for Improving Medication Compliance Duration: 2 minutes 8 seconds

There are many ways to give medications. The most common way that people think of using medications is a pill. Taking a pill once a day, once a week, once a month and that's traditionally the way we think of using medications to treat diseases. There are other ways of taking medications and you can give an injection or give an infusion. And increasingly, we're looking at different ways of giving medications as time goes on.

People recollect that they may have an injection under the skin once a year for flu vaccination. It's a very convenient, simple way of having a type of medication, in this case a flu vaccine, for treatment for something.

As we look at newer therapies for a variety of diseases, we are increasingly looking at giving injections under the skin. These may be given anywhere from once a day, once a week, once a month, once every six months.

And other ways of giving medications is giving infusions. Infusions can typically be given every week, every four weeks, every six weeks, sometimes every six months. So there's a variety of ways of giving medications to treat different disorders.

Now, the advantages of giving injections is we know that they get in. So we know that if you take a medication through injection or through intravenous, the absorption of medication is much better than giving a pill.

When you take a pill, you're never quite sure how much is absorbed and how much goes into the bloodstream. When we give you an injection, you're 100 percent sure that you're getting that medication in and it's being effective. So it's a very efficient and a very good way of giving treatments.

And if one can use subcutaneous injections or intravenous infusions to treat diseases, it can be a very good way of treating different diseases.

So, if you're having problems taking your oral medications, your pills, for whatever reason, you don't remember, you're having side effects, go and speak to your doctor, your specialist, about taking medications by a different route and consider subcutaneous medications, if they're available for you.

Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

How to Improve Medication Compliance ( 11 participated.)

How important do you think it is to take your medications as prescribed?


Only 50% of patients ever take enough medication to achieve an optimal therapeutic effect


20-30% of prescriptions are never filled by patients


Alternative ways to take some medications involve subcutaneous injections or IV infusions.


Up to 60% of patients with chronic conditions are poorly compliant with thier medications when it involves taking a pill.


Taking a pill is still the most reliable and effective way to take a medicine.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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