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Why is it Important to Share Your Medication Experience with your Doctor?

August 20, 2019

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Medications are one of the main tools for the cure, treatment, and prevention of numerous diseases. There are many studies that have assessed the individual experience of medications for patients. These studies have been conducted to assess the patient medications experience with specific medical disorders like asthma, hypertension, and even schizophrenia.

Such studies have observed that many adverse events leading to hospitalisations are often related with medications. Additionally, drug interactions and resulting complications are also the after effects of medication use. This implies that if patients actively express their opinions with certain medications they take, it would help doctors or prescribing physicians to a great extent to avoid the risk of adverse events or even hospitalisations. It is often observed that patients do not share their medication experience openly with their doctors. Sometimes, they are also scared to openly discuss an underlying health condition or even their medical history or concurrent medications with their doctors. This can prevent your doctor from prescribing you the best possible treatment, which may have substantial adverse effect on your health.

Typically, your doctor will prescribe you a particular medicine depending only on what information you provide about your illness or medical condition, other than your symptoms that may or may not be obvious. Therefore, a particular treatment or prescription you are given will generally depend on your specific health condition. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this prescription apart from your health condition. Your doctor also needs to take into account other factors like your immunity, other ongoing/underlying health conditions and medications, and/or any allergies you might have against a particular ingredient in the prescribed medicine. Hence, the medicine prescribed to you might differ from that prescribed to another patient with the same health condition as yours. All this makes it extremely important for you to transparently share your experience with the prescribed medicine with your doctor.

It’s also important to note that every patient is different and there can be times when a drug that is effective in one patient, might not be effective in another as a result of difference in the same factors listed above, viz. immunity, respective allergies, genetics, and also, regions and ethnicities. Therefore, it’s highly important for you to record your symptoms and share them with your doctor for better treatment management. When you are transparent and vocal about your medication experience with your doctor, he or she can document your opinions and views on a platform, such as the ‘patient reported outcomes’ (PROs). PROs or studies that focus on PROs can significantly help in the research and development of new drugs and devices as they represent the patient’s perspective to the maximum extent. Hence, they can be effectively used in this research and you, as a patient, should actively contribute to transparently voice your opinions on your experience with a particular medicine or a treatment.

It often happens that a certain treatment package often lacks data or perspectives directly from patients, which may play an important role in making a clinical decision about that treatment. For e.g., in India, it has been observed by several researchers that most of the clinical decisions in the field of prostate cancers rely on Western studies, because there is lack of enough Indian data from prostate cancer patients and their experience with the treatment they receive here, hindering the research on a particular disease area.

The medication experience is a universal concept in the patient’s universe, that can be a valuable tool for your disease management by your doctor. Because only when your doctor knows what’s going on with you when you take the prescribed medicine, they could know the probable risks or adverse effects or even if everything goes well, they can suggest ways to probably prevent a particular health condition.