196415 Prescription Medication Sharing's Impact on Patient Health and Patient-Provider Relationships

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:00 AM

Richard Goldsworthy, MSEd, PhD , Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, IN
Christopher B. Mayhorn, PhD , Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Previous research (c.f. Goldsworthy, et al. 2008; Peterson, et al., 2008) suggests that prescription medication sharing is a significant public health concern and provides evidence that two consequences—exacerbation of antibiotic resistance and exposure to teratogenic acne medication—are likely occurring; however, previous efforts do not directly address other potential consequences. As a result, we know little about whether prescription medication sharing is, for example, affecting patient-provider interactions or whether healthcare consumers are experiencing side effects when they borrow.

Objective. To determine whether prescription medication sharing, a common healthcare consumer behavior, leads to adverse outcomes, including inappropriate usage, delayed care, suboptimal patient-provider relationships, and exposure to side effects.

Methods. From May to June 2008, prevalence of prescription medication loaning and borrowing and associated behaviors and consequences were assessed through one-on-one public approach surveys among 2773 individuals conducted in 11 nationally distributed public locations.

Results. The present study confirmed previous results regarding prevalence of medication sharing and the types of medications shared. More importantly, this study provides a first look at several additional specific outcomes and consequences of prescription medication sharing. First, participants who admitted borrowing prescription medications reported never receiving written (54.6%) or verbal (38.2%) warnings or instructions from the person loaning the medicine. Second, 77.3% of participants who borrowed medication reported doing so rather than visiting their healthcare provider, and among these individuals, almost 1 in 3 said that they ended up going to a healthcare provider nonetheless, thereby delaying care. Moreover, among those who delayed care, 1 in 2 (205 participants) reported that they failed to tell the provider about the use of borrowed prescription medication. Third, 25.1% of borrowers (149 participants) indicated that they had experienced a side effect when borrowing prescription medication.

Conclusion. The results provide evidence that prescription medication borrowing presents real risks. Borrowers are frequently bypassing instructions and warnings, are avoiding or delaying seeking care from health professionals, are not communicating their borrowing to their healthcare provider, and are experiencing allergic reactions or side effects when they borrow prescription medications. The presentation will discuss these and other significant results in detail and draw implications for further research, for provider practice, and for public awareness.

These results represent the first extensive assessment of prevalence of risk and risky behaviors associated with prescription medication borrowing and demonstrate that such borrowing affects patients' health and their healthcare experience. Efforts to increase awareness and mitigate risk appear merited.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: describe the prevalence of prescription medication sharing describe patient reported effects of sharing, including effects on the patient-provider relationship evaluate the impact of such effects and discuss potential steps to mitigate this impact

Keywords: Prescription Drug Use Patterns, Medical Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am principle investigator on this federally support effort and designed and oversaw implementation of the research protocols discussed in the presentation. I have conducted extensive research regarding medication labeling and prescription sharing, including publications in AJPH.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Health Services Research
See more of: Medical Care