By Abiemwense Moru
In most cases, patients, especially the outpatients (those not on hospital
admission), do not adhere to the regular ingestion of drugs prescribed for
their treatment by medical personnel.
Observers note that the reasons behind this habit range from phobia for
drugs’ taking to carelessness, while some patients even abandon their drugs
some days into the prescribed course of therapy due to temporary relief
from the sickness.
Medical experts, however, argue that such practice could trigger serious
complications, which can also result in drug resistance.
Irrespective of such warnings, Mrs Hajara Adams, a housewife, insists that
ingesting drugs whenever she is ill is always very difficult, no matter the
She concedes that whenever she is sick; she follows the prescribed therapy
to some extent before discarding the remaining drugs.
“I try to complete the dosage but I would just stop as soon as I start
feeling well because when I try to swallow drugs, it will be as if they
will cut my throat,’’ she says.
Sharing similar sentiments, Mrs Agnes Chukwuka, a civil servant, says that
she has a phobia for drugs; adding that the mere mention of drugs is enough
to put her off.
She recalls that the drugs prescribed for her while she was once on
admission at a hospital were usually thrown away through the window of the
Chukwuka, however, concedes that she was later caught in the act by a
nurse, who resorted to forcing her to take the drugs in her presence.
“The nurse would give me water and force me to take the drugs but once I
took the tablets, I would vomit. I prefer injections to taking pills or
tablets,’’ she said.
Strangely enough, some people avoid drugs because of religious
For instance, Mr Emmanuel Agbonboaye, who works for at a faith-based
foundation, says that he does not take drugs whenever he falls sick, adding
that he only prays for divine healing.
“The last time I took drugs was in 2008 but whenever my children fall
sick, I refer them to a medical expert and encourage them to adhere to the
doctor’s prescriptions,’’ he says.
Nevertheless, Ms Adesuwa Osazee, a civil servant, underscores the wisdom in
taking drugs in line with a doctor’s prescription.
“Even though I don’t like taking drugs, I know I will get stronger and
remain healthy for a long time if I complete the drugs’ dosage, as
prescribed by the doctor.
“Whenever my twin sister mocks me for taking my drug religiously, I don’t
care at all, knowing that the medication will help me because I do not like
people milling around me because I am ill. I just want to remain healthy
all the time,’’ she says
All the same, observers note that the fear of people’s comments on some
types of medication may also induce a negative mindset towards drugs’
taking in such instances.
For instance, Chioma (a pseudo name), a HIV-positive lady, recalls that she
was placed on an anti-retroviral therapy, adding, however, that at a point,
she was not taking the pills regularly.
She says that she eventually developed complications arising from drug
resistance and was placed on a second-line medication, a different set of
In spite of the various reasons adduced for not taking drugs, medical
experts insist that since drug prescriptions are made after medical
examinations, there should be no excuse at all for not following the
Mrs Blessing Egbuna, a pharmacist at Garki General Hospital, Abuja says
that the skipping of drugs’ regimen is also an aspect of non-adherence to
She insists that not keeping to the dose regimen is as bad as not taking
the medication at all.
Sharing similar sentiments, Dr Adamu Onu, a physician at the Garki General
Hospital, warns patients against skipping drugs’ dose regimen while on
treatment, saying that they could develop drug resistance.
Onu, however, says that such practice is common with persons with ailments
like high blood pressure or diabetes since people with such conditions
generally feel well.
“This has to do with human beings, if one feels well and a course of
therapy is prescribed for an ailment, one is not likely to complete the
drugs,’’ he says.
Onu, nonetheless, warns that such actions could aggravate the ailment and
even lead to sudden death if care is not taken.
He particularly notes that the implications of skipping drugs’ regimen for
malaria could lead to resistance to the drug.
“Another area where you can witness serious drug resistance is in HIV
treatment, as the people have to take certain drugs in order for them to be
able to function normally and live healthy lives.
“If the people skip or stop taking their drugs; then, it causes what we
call biologic resistance and the virus will develop resistance, while the
person’s treatment will fail.
“A problem occurs when the period you have to take drugs is quite long and
the drugs you have to take are many; it becomes possible for the people to
skip drugs,’’ he says.
Nevertheless, Onu says that some people may stop taking drugs if they feel
uncomfortable with the side effects of the medication during therapy.
He stresses that in ailments such as hypertension and diabetes, the
patient’s failure to take the prescribed drugs regularly could provoke
complications such as kidney failure, stroke and heart disease.
Onu underscores the need for the initiation of public awareness campaigns
on why people should always complete their medical treatment by strictly
keeping to the drugs’ dose regimen.
Medical experts, including Onu, advise people to refrain from the habit of
not adhering to medical prescriptions, saying that the proposed change of
attitude will enable them to maintain a healthy existence. (NANFeatures)