No matter how perfect the medication regimen is for treating a disease, we won’t see the desired benefits if the client is not giving the medication as prescribed.
While the final responsibility for appropriately giving the medication rests with the client, there are a number of things we can do as veterinary professionals to set the client up for success. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind the next time you prescribe medications.
- Choose once or twice daily options instead of three times per day when possible.
- Discuss each new medication with the client. Include information about what it’s being used for as well as potential side effects to expect and what to do if side effects appear. Side effects are a common reason for clients deciding to stop giving a medication, especially if they don’t see the need.
- Package medications in a way to facilitate easy administration. For example, for oral liquids, use bottle stoppers and provide dose marked syringes.
- For new routes of administration (e.g., SQ, transdermal), teach the client appropriate administration technique before they leave the clinic. Demonstrate by giving the first dose or having the client do it while you watch. If you don’t have the medication on hand, utilize a placebo such normal saline instead of the actual insulin.
- Determine the client’s comfort with administering oral medications. If they aren’t sure how willingly the patient will accept them, suggest various strategies, or consider a compounded formulation that may be more readily accepted.
By Lauren Forsythe, PharmD, DICVP, FSVHP