Why is it important for me to take my medications as directed?

Taking your medications as prescribed, or “medication adherence,” is particularly important for heart failure. Failing to take heart failure medications as directed can lead to worsening of symptoms, hospitalization, and shortened lifespan. Yet side effects, cost, and even simple forgetfulness can interfere with medication adherence.

Understanding why your provider has prescribed a particular medication, and making sure you’re armed with the information you need to take it as directed, can help you stick to your drug regimen. Ask the following questions each time you are prescribed a new medication or if you’d like to learn more about a drug you’re already taking:

  • Why are you prescribing this medicine?
  • How will I know if it is working?
  • How often should I take this medication? What time? At what dose?
  • Should I take this medication with food, or before or after eating?
  • Is there anything I should not do when taking this medication (drive, drink alcohol, etc.)?
  • What should I do if I experience side effects?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
  • If cost is an issue: Can you prescribe a generic version or a lower-cost alternative?