Medication use among specific cultural groups is often diverse due to personal and cultural beliefs and expectations regarding healthcare practices and associated behaviors which are influenced by cultural norms, values, and expectations. For example, African Americans are often prescribed medications for a variety of health conditions, and their beliefs regarding the use of medications, access to these medications, and other issues may impact their level of adherence and willingness to take their medications in a timely manner over a period of time. Therefore, it is important to address these issues and to acknowledge the overall significance of medications for African Americans and how they respond to their overall health concerns in different ways. Medication use in African Americans is a challenging issue and requires further analysis to ensure that this population is prepared to use medications as directed and in a timely manner.
Among African Americans, health beliefs may have a significant influence on their ability to take medications as directed. For example, some individuals may lack trust in the healthcare system and are unwilling to take their medications either because they do not believe that they are necessary and/or they do not believe what they are told by their physicians. Therefore, they may be less likely to take medications, and specifically those who have chronic illnesses such as hypertension (Adams, Uratsu, & Dyer, 2013). In this context, it is also likely that these patients, particularly older adults, may be required to take several mediations daily and either confuse their medications or take the wrong ones at incorrect times, which may jeopardize their health (Adams et al., 2013). It is important to provide patients who need assistance with guidance so that they can take their medications at the appropriate times and have the tools that are necessary to accomplish this goal.
Medication administration may be difficult for a variety of reasons, such as age, cognitive ability, lack of access, and lack of knowledge regarding the purpose of the medication. It is often the case that African Americans possess lower levels of medication adherence than other groups because they have negative perceptions of medications and their level of self-efficacy is lower (Spruill et al., 2014). When patients do not trust their physicians or lack understanding regarding the need for medications, they may be resistant to take them and their health may suffer as a result; furthermore, they may have limited belief in themselves that they can accomplish medication administration as prescribed by their physicians, and lower self-confidence may impact this practice (Spruill et al., 2014). It is important for healthcare providers and family members to address issues involving trust and understanding regarding the need for medications so that patients better understand why they are necessary and how to improve their self-confidence to take these medications as prescribed.
African Americans may also experience adverse events while taking medications that impact their health, such as an increased risk of negative cardiovascular outcomes associated with hypertension medications in some patients (Han, 2015). This reflects the importance of understanding the purpose of these medications and why patients are hesitant to take them on a regular basis out of fear of the long-term side effects that may occur. In addition, it is possible in some cases that patients may experience adverse events that are associated with the use of anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs, and these events may include weight gain and obesity, sexual and reproductive concerns, and type 2 diabetes in some patients (Jerrell, 2010). Therefore, it is important to acknowledge these risk factors and to determine how to best address the needs of individual patients, including providing education so that they are fully aware of the risk of adverse events.
Adherence to medications among African Americans is not uncommon, as there are significant issues to address in the context of understanding how this population views medications. For example, patients may be unwilling to take their medications out of fear of adverse events or in the case of opioids or other pain medications, out of fear of dependence or addiction. It is important for healthcare providers to examine their prescribing patterns on a consistent basis and to determine if changes in medications are necessary at any given point in time. Patients may also find it difficult to obtain their medications if they do not drive or lack transportation to the pharmacy to pick them up; therefore, it is important to acknowledge that there are critical factors to address when prescribing medications to members of this population group to ensure that they will adhere to all required instructions and will take these medications in a timely manner. These efforts require expanded educational tools by healthcare providers and physicians at the time that these medications are prescribed and moving forward to ensure that patients understand why they are necessary and why they must be taken regularly as directed by a physician.
African Americans who are required to take medications on a regular basis may struggle with this issue and find it difficult or be resistant to this practice for a variety of reasons. Therefore, they face critical challenges that may be associated with their health beliefs and must demonstrate their understanding of the importance of taking medications and how they may improve their health. Therefore, health beliefs must be addressed by providers and any resistance to medication adherence must be addressed by the physician and/or nurse so that all required medications can be taken in a timely manner and without delays that could ultimately compromise their health.