New survey reveals half of those with long term illnesses are struggling with their medication

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New survey reveals half of those with long term illnesses are struggling with their medication


Nearly half of those with long term illnesses have struggled to cope with their medications. 46% of people don't always take their medication as instructed, according to new research released today.

Less than a third (30%) of people with long term conditions said they felt 'confident' about the way they manage their medicine and with over 15 million [1] people in England suffering from a long term condition such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, this means that millions of people could be putting their health at risk by not taking their medicine properly.

The research, carried out by the community pharmacy chain LloydsPharmacy looked into why people don't take their medication properly and the difficulties they face. It found that almost 8 in 10 of participants didn't take their medicine as prescribed due to forgetfulness. Nearly two thirds (61%) admitted to not taking their medications at the right time of day and nearly a third (30%) admitted to either taking more or less of their medication than instructed.

Not taking medication as prescribed can not only make it less effective and interfere with its ability to treat the condition but it can also lead to greater complications from the illness, increase the risk of side effects from the medication itself and can lower the quality of life for patients.

The findings are supported by observations from LloydsPharmacy pharmacists, 24% of whom reported seeing patients at least once a week who aren't taking their medication properly.

Nitin Makadia, pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy, explains the help that is available for patients: "We're urging anyone concerned or confused about their medicine to talk to their pharmacist as it's vital that people with long-term conditions take all their medications as prescribed for the sake of their long term health. As a pharmacist it's extremely worrying to find that so many people are struggling to stick to their medication plan.

Juggling multiple medications can be a real challenge but using repeat prescription services and taking part in medicine check-ups* at a pharmacy can help people take control."

Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK says, "We fully support and are keen to raise awareness of this issue. Many people with the long term condition of high blood pressure will eventually need to take medication to help lower it. We want to ensure that everyone seeks the help that is available to them, so they can manage their medications more effectively.”

To find out more visit our page, high blood pressure medications.

With the onset of an ageing population, increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with long term conditions and many of these individuals are on multiple medications. Currently there are at least 15.4 million people in England with a long term condition and the numbers of people with three or more long term conditions is expected to rise from 1.9m to 2.9m by 2018 [2].  This means that medicine non-adherence and the pressure it places on the NHS is likely to grow considerably in the coming years - last year the Aston Medication Adherence Study (AMAS) found that people not taking their medication as instructed could cost the NHS more than£500 million every year [3].

LloydsPharmacy also carried out research among its own pharmacists into medicine mis-management among patients [4]. When asked what the most common reasons patients gave for not taking their medicines correctly, the top three answers were because of a lack of understanding about the need to take it, simply forgetting and worries about the side effects - which could be addressed during a medicine check- up with a pharmacist. Other reasons patients gave included not liking the colour or size of the pill and being too busy and simply deciding themselves not to take it anymore.

More information about the help and support available through pharmacy can be found at:


For further information, contact 020 7478 7833 or email

LloydsPharmacy has these top tips to help people manage their medicines:

·          Create a timetable stating which days and times you need to take your medication and out it somewhere clearly visible, like on your fridge

·          Use a pill box - as well as helping you remember this can also help ensure you take the right dose

·          Make taking your medicines part of your daily routine by tying it in with a daily task such as using the computer or watching TV

·          Your family can support you - tell members of your family when you should be taking your medicines so they can help to remind you if you do forget

·          Keep medicines that are supposed to be taken with or after food in the morning by your kettle or toaster and those that should be taken at night on your bedside table


[1] According to NHS England:

[2] According to NHS England:

[3] According to the Aston University Aston Medication Adherence Study (AMAS):

[4] LloydsPharmacy carried out a survey among its pharmacists and received 122 responses

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