New research indicates almost two-thirds of Americans do not follow their physician’s orders correctly when they take prescription drugs. They don’t take their medication, or use pills that were not intended for them, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The findings come from Quest Diagnostics, which analyzed about 76,000 urine samples submitted last year from physicians’ offices and the company’s patient service centers. The results were compared with doctors’ records of the medications prescribed for each patient.
The study found many of the drugs patients took that were not prescribed for them were painkillers, sedatives or amphetamines. Overall, 63 percent of patients taking prescription drugs did not use them as prescribed by their doctor.
Forty percent of patients misusing medication had been prescribed drugs, but were not taking any, the newspaper reports.
Quest says these results suggest some people cannot afford medication, are skipping treatments or are diverting them to the black market. The remaining 60 percent of patients who misused drugs were taking medications that were not prescribed by their physicians.
Many patients combined drugs without a doctor’s oversight, the study found. Jon R. Cohen, Quest’s Chief Medical Officer, noted this can be dangerous, because some medications can interact with each other.