Top 5 reasons your medicine DIDN’T work.

As a pharmacist at Blooms The Chemist, Albion Park people regular tell me “I tried that, it didn’t work”.

The trouble is that when I ask a few more questions it turns out that what they have tried is almost certain to fail.

So, what are the main reasons medicines don’t work?

(By the way I am guilty of some of these myself – only I admit it freely)

 #1 You don’t take it!

paint tinAnalogy – You want to paint your house, so you buy some paint and put it in the garage. Your house will not change colour!

The number one reason medication fails to do what it should is because people either forget to take it or don’t take it on purpose.

This especially applies to medicine to treat problems that the patient can’t “feel” e.g. cholesterol or high blood pressure medicine. When they don’t take the medicine, they don’t feel any different, but when they go back to the Doctor, they find that the problem is still there. SURPRISE!

This is a bigger problem than most people would realise or admit. For some medications the rate at which people take their medicine is on average only about 4 times in 10!

#2 You don’t take enough of it often enough.

water-cupAnalogy – It’s summer, your lawn looks brown, you throw a coffee cup full of water on it twice a week.

This one usually comes up in the conversation like this:

  • Patient – “Oh, yes I take that.”
  • Me – “OK, how do you take it?”
  • Patient – “I take one in the morning.”
  • Me – “Oh, you really need to take 2, three times a day for it to work properly.”

Many people reason that, they don’t like to take too much medicine. Which is fine. But you really need to take enough. Medicine has a specific dose that will ensure that there is enough of the medicine in your body to fix the problem. Too little will often do nothing at all.

#3 You don’t take it for long enough.

Fat guyAnalogy – A new years resolution to get fit is great! (As long as you continue to exercise after January 14th)

Many medications need to be taken ongoing (yes, for the rest of your life), but even those that don’t need to be taken for an amount of time which gives them a chance to work.

This is often the case with antibiotics. You often feel much better after a few days, but if you stop taking them, there is usually a few bacteria still floating around your system which will then grow up bigger and stronger when you stop taking the antibiotics.

#4 You don’t take it correctly

axeAnalogy – You buy a nice sharp axe, and swing it really hard at a tree, flat side forward. You’ll ding the tree alright, but you could do better with the sharp side.

Asthma puffers are the number one culprits here. A lot of people with asthma have been using their puffers for years. Unfortunately many have been using them incorrectly for all those years. They are super familiar with the way they use it and it’s really hard to convince them that the correct way is in fact better!

Some medicines also need to be taken at a particular time of day, on an empty stomach or on a full stomach. Getting any of these things wrong can mean the medicine won’t work or wont work as well as it should.

#5 It’s not the right medicine for you.

Car_Wrap_With_LeavesAnalogy – Your friend tells you about a GREAT gardener, you employ them to clean your car & wonder why it doesn’t sparkle like you’d expected.

Friends and family always mean well. Unfortunately their advice is often not as valuable as that of a healthcare professional (doctor, pharmacist, physiotherapist etc.) who has studied at university, continues to study new advances in treatments and spends all day dealing with peoples’ medical problems.

Magazines and TV commercials do not have your best interests at heart. Thus it would be wise to completely ignore ALL information that you get from these sources. Remember these things are designed to sell products, not assess if they are right for what ever ails YOU.

Unfortunately labelling of medicines is not much help for people to choose a medicine either. They often describe the symptoms they treat in a variety of different ways to make them sound great for almost anything when in reality they have a specific set of ingredients which will do a specific set of things when in your body.

Due to Australian medicine licensing laws there are medicines on the shelf that claim to do certain things that they have been positively proven not to do. This is especially true of many things that are “safe” and thus available on the shelf in the supermarket or service station. Water is “safe” but will do little to ease your sore throat.

Want more information?

Contact me at:

  • Greg Cadorin – Pharmacist
  • Phone – 02 4256 4610 Fax – 02 4257 2104
  • Address – 167 Tongarra Road, Albion Park 2527
  • Email –

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