The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to stay at home and away from other people, including doctors and their patients.
With doctors conducting appointments online or over the phone since the COVID lockdown started last year, one concern that’s cropped up is that patients may not be taking their medication properly.
“Pharmacies haven’t been filling three-month supplies, just 30 days for people since the start of COVID,” endocrinology Dr. Akshay Jain said.
“Many people were losing their jobs and private insurance … which caused an access to medication problem at the start of the pandemic.”
Illnesses that require varying amounts of medication, such as diabetes, have been major issues.
According to Dr. Jain, with people staying home and eating more and different foods than usual, the individual need for insulin to treat diabetes has changed. A diabetic person’s insulin dose pre-COVID may have changed with their diet over the pandemic, which could lead to over- or under-dosing of the medication.
Improper medicating can lead to severe side effects in some cases. With diabetes, consistent insufficient insulin doses can cause someone to need an amputation – an operation Dr. Jain said has increased upwards of 10-fold during the pandemic.
Dr. Jain added that other care, such as screenings for cancer and chronic illnesses, have been put on hold during the pandemic, further amplifying the issue of improper medication.
Dr. Jain stressed following up with your doctor often in order to ensure that you’re receiving the correct dosages of your medication.
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