Almost one-third of people have stopped taking a prescription drug at some time without telling their health care provider, according to the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.
And while cost certainly influences whether and how people take their drugs, only 10 percent of people in this poll cited it as the reason for their behavior. A separate question asked people who filled a prescription recently whether they missed at least one dose. A full quarter said they had.
The related problems of quitting a drug without consultation with a doctor, missing doses and even not filling the prescription in the first place fall under the umbrella of medication non-adherence. About half of medications for chronic disease aren't taken as directed, according to a review published in 2012 in Annals of Internal Medicine.The problem has been estimated to result in increased hospitalizations, more premature deaths and a tab of between $100 billion and $289 billion a year.