A Healthesystems publication

Fall 2014

Medication Nonadherence: The Most Costly Drug Is the One They Are Not Taking

Nonadherence to medication is pervasive across healthcare, and the backdrop of workers’ compensation presents unique challenges to consider when managing treatment. Opioids and other products with abuse potential open the door for aberrant drug behaviors as a patient relies on these drugs to deal with symptoms or emotional stress of injury while abandoning medications that can better restore functionality —resulting in delayed return to work, poor health outcomes, and higher costs for the payer.

When it comes to achieving successful treatment outcomes, choosing the right medications is only half the battle. Treatment effectiveness does not solely rely on the number or types of medications prescribed. Yet when a patient’s condition fails to improve, his or her drug regimen becomes the primary culprit. Should the dose be adjusted? Should another drug be considered? The appropriate selection and prescribing of medication is one of many factors that should be addressed when assessing outcomes in injured workers. But before any regimen changes are made or new prescriptions written, there’s another critical question that demands consideration: Is the patient taking their medication correctly to begin with?

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