Dear Red Hot Mamas- September 2021

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: September 15, 2021

Dear Red Hot Mamas,

I have always been so very curious about how second hand stories affect the way many of us feel about taking medications. Sometimes, I’ve acquired a skeptical approach about taking medications because I’ve have been influenced by stories others have told me about certain medications. Can any of you relate to this?

And, just how many times has a doctor given you a green sheet of paper with a prescription written on it for a medication and you just put in your purse and never even filled it?

I’m certain this may sound familiar to many of us.

And, when the next time you visit your doctor and you are asked “just how are you doing on the medication?” you must finally come out with the truth. You say “I decided not to take it.”

I know a lot of doctors are used to this. The term they apply to this is patient’s “non-compliance or non-adherence”. But why do we not fill our prescriptions or fill them and never take them?

A lot of our decision making process as to take, or not to take, a medication is oftentimes been shaped by what another person has told us about a specific medication.

It might be from what one of our family members, or friends, have told us about the medication, its side effects or risks, and that is why we have declined taking a particular medication prescribed to us.

Some of the stories others tell us can be rather upsetting. This may lead us to question and doubt our physicians knowledge about medications. Unfortunately, the messages our friends or acquaintances give us aren’t always accurate and it makes us have a skeptical approach to taking any medication. And, it can distort our vision about the risks and benefits of treatments.

Sometimes doctors have too much of a paternalistic way in dealing with us when prescribing medications. They must understand that, as patients, we need to be provided with a lot more information about the medication they have prescribed.

It takes sitting down and talking with us about our concerns and coming to an understanding. It’s about the “ art of negotiation”. I’m sure you may all agree, as a patient, I want the doctor to become aware of my feelings about taking the medication.

It is ultimately our decision as a patient to decide whether the benefits from the treatment outweighs the consequences of its side effects and the risks of not taking the prescribed medication.

And, the doctor must understand that there is a potent influence from the personal stories that we have heard from others that sometimes has a great influence on our decision making process.

In closing, as a patient, I want to be understood. If that is accomplished, perhaps my preferences about taking treatments might become more flexible.

Good Health To You All,

Karen Giblin