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Many patients want more information on the medicines they’re prescribed and greater say in the brands they use, the first major study of the burden of long-term medicine use has concluded.
University of Kent pharmacy expert Professor Janet Krska carried out research into what makes long-term medicine use burdensome for patients and found that those taking the highest number of medicines for the most times a day experienced the greatest impact — with many concerned about side effects.
Surprisingly however, the study also found that older patients felt using regular medicines was less burdensome than younger patients, even though they use more medicines.
The research revealed that over a quarter of those surveyed wanted more information about their medicines and greater say in the brands of medicines they use, with a similar proportion concerned about paying for medicines. Over half were concerned about long-term adverse effects. Around 11% were not satisfied with the effectiveness of their medicines, and between 10 and 16% agreed that their medicines caused interference with some aspect of their daily life.
Thirty per cent agreed that their life revolved around medicines and only around a quarter felt they could decide whether or not to use them. There were 16% who didn’t feel their doctor listened to their opinion about medicines and 11% said that their doctor didn’t take concerns about side effects seriously.
Professor Krska and two other researchers at the University’s Medway School of Pharmacy developed a new questionnaire — known as the Living with Medicines Questionnaire (LMQ) — to measure medicine burden. Eight areas were covered: relationships with health professionals, practical difficulties, interference with daily life, lack of effectiveness, side effects, general concerns, cost and lack of autonomy.
Professor Krska said: ‘The drive to implement clinical guidelines is contributing to increasing medicines use across the country, but the impact of this on patients among healthcare professionals is not always considered. Our study suggests that it’s time for this to change.’