If you’ve been prescribed an oral medication to help you manage a chronic condition, you might find it hard to keep up with the doses. But in order to get the most out of your medication, it’s important to take it as directed. “When you’re prescribed a medication, it’s in your best interest to take it exactly as it’s been prescribed,” says Elizabeth Schulman, M.D., a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “That’s the best way for us to gauge how well the medication is working.”

And, with many conditions, it’s not only taking the medication when you’re first diagnosed that’s important, but sticking with it long-term to control symptoms, says Tina Bhutani, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and co-director of the UCSF Psoriasis and Skin Treatment Center.

What Stops Some People from Taking Their Pills

“Overall, with orals, there doesn’t tend to be as much of an adherence issue [as there is with some other types of medication],” says Bhutani. “The drugs [tend to] work well, so people are motivated to continue taking them.”