Harvard Men's Health Watch

How to get the most out of your medications

Not taking drugs as directed robs you of the benefits. Here are some effective solutions.

When it comes to taking medications the way we are supposed to, many of us don't score very high. According to the World Health Organization, on average half of prescription medications are not taken as prescribed. These include cardiac drugs that men need to take after heart attacks to prevent another—and yet studies find that a quarter of these men don't follow "doctor's orders." Many prescriptions go unfilled.

Experts call the problem nonadherence, and a variety of factors contribute to it. "It's not as simple as patients behaving badly," says Dr. Niteesh K. Choudhry, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an expert in medication adherence.

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