CardioSmart Corner | The Un-Reality of TV Advertising

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The AARP recently issued a public safety message to its members in response to the surge in television, radio and internet ads from law firms and lawsuit marketing companies regarding specific medications. While the alert notes that “opt-in notices are required for law firms bringing class action complaints, the rhetoric of these ads have frightened some patients into stopping critical life-saving medications without consulting a health care practitioner.” The AARP message is an important reminder about the importance of building relationships with patients and engaging in open and honest dialogue around their care and treatment.

Some topics you might want to discuss with patients include:

  • What is the medicine? How does it work?
  • What are the brand and generic name(s) for the drug?
  • What are the potential risks and/or benefits of the drug?
  • Are there negative ad campaigns around this medication? What are the facts?
  • Will the medication interact with any other medications or vitamin supplements they take?
  • Are there dietary restrictions?
  • What are the major side effects? When should a patient be concerned?

CardioSmart also has a number of tools and resources designed to help patients understand the importance of medication adherence, including an infographic, sample questions for patients to ask their health care professionals, and more. These resources highlight the importance of conversations between patients, their health care providers and their pharmacists. Underscoring that we, as their health care providers, should be the one and only source of accurate information about prescribed medications is critical – and could be the difference between life and death.

Click here to see the AARP alert. For CardioSmart resources, visit CardioSmart.org and look for “Understanding Medication Adherence” under the Drugs and Treatment section.

Medication Adherence Patient Tips

Patients, especially those with more than one medication, often struggle with maintaining their medication regimen. The following three tips can help:

  • Develop a medication schedule so that it becomes part of the daily routine. For example, take medication right after eating breakfast or right before going to bed.
  • Create reminders using notes, checklists, journals or alarms. Encourage patients to find what method works for them. There are an increasing number of mobile apps for cell phones and smartwatches that can help.
  • Ask family and friends to help with reminders, as they can be a great source of support.

Clinical Topics: Prevention, Nonstatins, Diet

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Medication Adherence, Mobile Applications, Pharmacists, Vitamins, Health Personnel, Dietary Supplements, Television, Advertising as Topic


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