Which medicines do our patients want from us?

J Fam Pract. 2000 Apr;49(4):339-41.


Background: The prescribing of medication, whether for infections or injuries, has come under the scrutiny of health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Our goal was to examine patient beliefs about the usefulness of certain classes of medications.

Methods: We surveyed 244 consecutive adult patients who presented to an urban private family medicine practice in Georgia.

Results: Regardless of who paid for prescriptions (an HMO or the patient), most people in the survey would be satisfied with over-the-counter medications and reassurance (84% for upper-respiratory infection, 72% for muscle strain, 56% for diarrhea). Few differences were attributable to payment status (prepaid as opposed to fee-for-service). African Americans are less likely than whites to accept reassurance as an appropriate treatment.

Conclusions: Patients may be more willing to accept reassurance and over-the-counter medications than is commonly believed by physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Therapy*
  • Georgia
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*


  • Nonprescription Drugs