Why medication adherence matters for people with diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses

Taking medication according to the prescribed dose, time, and frequency is an important part of managing overall health and chronic conditions. Patients might not follow instructions on their medications for multiple reasons: they may not understand the directions, have difficulty sticking to a routine, or have many prescriptions to manage. However, the consequences of this can be dire. Poor medication adherence can lead to increased risk of disease progression, life-threatening complications, hospitalization, lower quality of life, or even death.

Common barriers to taking medications as prescribed:

  • Difficulty with routines
  • Understanding directions
  • Multiple prescriptions to manage

"The MSU Health Care Pharmacy wants to make it as easy as possible for patients to understand their prescriptions and take them as directed," says Nicole Gargano, PharmD, MSU Health Care Clinical Pharmacist. “It’s important to us that people don’t feel like they’re managing their medications alone.”

In addition to medical consultations with pharmacists, curbside pickup, and delivery options, the MSU Pharmacy offers two special services to help patients with medication adherence:

  • SyncRx is a program to synchronize medication refill dates and is perfect for patients with chronic conditions that require multiple prescriptions. When medications are refilled at different times of the month, patients need to make more trips to the pharmacy and have an increased likelihood of missing a dose. SyncRx cuts down on pharmacy trips to save patients time and help them stay on track with their prescription schedules. Each month (or every 90 days), MSU Pharmacy staff will review the patient profile to ensure that all prescriptions are in stock, resolve any insurance issues, and prep all of the medications to be refilled at the same time. When prescriptions are ready, they can be picked up at the pharmacy or delivered to the patient, all at one time.
  • SpartanPak is a convenient and easy way to stay organized with medications. With SpartanPak, the MSU Pharmacy organizes all prescription and over-the-counter medications by day, time, and dose. Each SpartanPak is a single unit strip package, clearly labeled with when the medication should be taken and color-coded by time of day. The individual blister packs help patients avoid the worry of double-dosing or taking the wrong pill at the wrong time of day.

While these services are available for free to all patients, they are especially useful for MSU retirees. With the recent changes in insurance benefits, the MSU Pharmacy is still one of the preferred pharmacies on the plan and offers competitive pricing. For retirees that are in Michigan, prescriptions can be mailed free around the state or locally delivered if within the East Lansing area. “If there are barriers for patients taking their medications, we want them to know there are things out there that can help them,” Dr. Gargano said. “We hope to make patients’ lives as convenient as possible so they can adhere