Published Online: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Millions of Americans are failing to take their prescribed medications correctly, and many are simply neglecting to take their prescriptions at all, concludes a new report from the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE).

As a result, the group warns, many patients put their health at risk unnecessarily by allowing serious medical problems to go untreated. People with diseases that are initially symptom-free are at particularly high risk of skipping or neglecting medication, according to the NCPIE.

?Although high blood pressure more than triples the risk of heart disease, for example, just 51% of patients stick with their prescribed antidote,? said the researchers.

The NCPIE report, however, concludes that a broad range of Americans, from senior citizens to teenagers, rank poorly in their adherence to needed medications. The current high levels of medication nonadherence are placing huge financial pressures on American health care, according to the report.

Poor adherence to prescribed medication can cost an extra $2000 a year for each patient in extra physician visits alone, and nationwide the problem may be costing the country $177 billion in medical bills and lost productivity.

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