Hippocrates is known more for the origin of the oath taken by physicians, but he may have had more in common with modern prescribers than one might think. According to Specialty Pharmacy Magazine, Hippocrates documented difficulty with his patients staying compliant with their medication therapy. He was quoted as saying, “keep watch also of the faults of patients which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed.”
Catching up with the consequences of disease symptoms which affect quality of life and improving outcomes can be difficult, not to mention costly, invasive, and uncomfortable. Many medications, with reliable outcomes have been on the market for decades and are proven to be safe and effective in treating diseases such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, and pre-diabetes. These medications can be pushed to the side when drug manufacturers decide to promote and sell newer medication. The overwhelming amount of marketing materials (which can be written with a biased slant), advertising, and aggressive persuasion can contort treatment lines of therapy and confuse treatment goals.
Try to stick to lifestyle modifications to improve your health, but also be able to recognize when lifestyle modification alone is not going to be enough. When possible, start with simple medications which don’t have addictive qualities. There are many reliable medications that won’t dramatically alter your quality of life or negatively affect your wallet. Ask your prescriber if the medication he or she is considering is available in a generic brand. Keep in mind that most generic medications are now made by the same manufacturers (or their partner companies) which make brand name medications. The ability to get samples from your prescriber can have short term benefits, but it can also lead to trouble regarding future disputes with your insurance company over approvals and coverage of your medications, overall expense, and availability.
Medications can come with side effects not related strictly to symptoms, and if they are troublesome, let your pharmacist or prescriber know. Iron tablets for instance can cause constipation, but usually adding a simple stool softener will help. It is important to stay compliant with the wishes of healthcare providers, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.