Problems With Medications

Written by Tara Peris
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Problems with medications frequently lead patients to stop taking them altogether. This presents a significant impediment to effective treatment that may only be remedied through active problem solving between doctor and patient. As always, this begins with an open dialogue that assesses the needs and goals of the patient as well as barriers to effective treatment.

Doctors and pharmacists are quick to warn of most common problems with medications. However, theoretical knowledge of potential side effects and firsthand experience with them are two very different matters. Many patients find that they simply cannot tolerate the nausea, headaches, and fatigue that commonly occur with their medications.

Solving Problems with Medications

The end result is that many patients are inconsistent with their medication or worse, stop taking it altogether. This is tricky territory for doctors to navigate as it is the patient, not the doctor, who must suffer the consequences of either uncomfortable side effects or an untreated medical condition. Many doctors rely on the therapeutic technique of motivational interviewing to assist in these situations.

An outgrowth of the field of psychology, motivational interviewing uses Socratic questions to guide patients to their own conclusions about what might be best for them. Its collaborative nature allows doctors to align themselves with the patient while assessing barriers to effective treatment. This alliance in turn allows for productive strategizing about how best to address common problems with medications.

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