Monday, 25 June 2012

Finishing your Antibiotics

Instead of *all* white pills, perhaps majority white + some blue pills is the way to go?

Most people are aware of the dangers of not finishing their course of antibiotics. These dangers, however, are not at all immediately felt nor does it pose any direct threat to the actual individual (in most cases). The lack of incentive is overwhelming and I know even I, did not finish my 5 day course of Amoxycillin (tsk tsk).

This issue popped into my head today as I inadvertently came across Rory Sutherland's video on human perspective. If you are on a quick lunch break and just want a gist of it then skip to 10:55 of the video although I highly recommend you to view the whole thing as it delivers a much more powerful message when viewed within context.

He basically proposed that instead of giving 24 white tablets, provide patients with 18 white tablets and 6 blue tablets instead. You then tell the patients to take the white tablets first and then the blue ones. His theory being that if there is a perceived "milestone" then people are more likely to reach the end.

I am quite fond of this suggestion, and had I been an authoritarian ruler, I'd make this happen tomorrow. Alas, we live in a democracy (some would argue quasi-democracy), where things grind along at the same pace as Lonesome George (the rare Galapagos tortoise). Perhaps, George's demise (which only just happened yesterday!) is a warning that we need to be approaching matters from a different perspective.

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