What would you do to live longer?
If you could decrease your risk of heart disease by taking a daily pill, would you? You may be surprised to learn that nearly one-third of respondents to a recent survey would accept a shorter life to avoid taking daily medication.
According to the research, more than eight percent of participants were willing to trade as much as two years of life to avoid taking daily medication for cardiovascular disease; while roughly 21 percent would trade between one week and a year of their lives.
Medication non-adherence, or not taking medication exactly as prescribed, is a well-known problem.
“Some of the most frequent factors include cost, understanding the importance of the drugs, and having multiple health conditions that make their medication routine complex or confusing,” says Dr. Reddy.
This survey of 1,000 people, with an average age of 50, highlights another consideration; it might not be worth the hassle.
The researchers from the University of California San Francisco and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill concluded that for many people the act of taking a daily pill getting it, remembering to take it and actually taking it can have a large negative effect on people’s quality of life.
“The results of this survey underscore the importance of getting to the reasons behind people’s behavior. Medication adherence is a two-way street,” say Dr. Reddy. “For example, patients who have had gastric bypass surgery cannot swallow large pills. But this may not cross a doctor’s mind when they’re writing prescriptions.”
Dr. Reddy agrees that affordability is a problem for many, but says few people realize that many drugs for heart disease are now available as generics and some pharmacies even offer medications at no cost at all.
“It is vital for doctors to stay up-to-date on what resources are available to help their patients,” he says.
The researchers also explored hypothetical situations asking how much people would be willing to pay to avoid the daily pill. Just over 20 percent of respondents said they’d pay $1,000 or more to get out of it, but nearly 45 percent would take the pill rather than pay any amount of money.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.