A narrative review shows the unvalidated use of self-report questionnaires for individual medication as outcome measures

J Clin Epidemiol. 2005 Oct;58(10):967-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.03.012.


Objective: Accurate individualized data on drug consumption is required for a number of purposes. While electronic medication event monitoring is the best objective measure available, self-report tools would be a useful alternative in certain situations. We searched for validated self-completion questionnaires suitable for measuring change in medication.

Methods: A systematic search of the English language literature since 1980, and a narrative literature review.

Results: Few articles described the development or use of self-report methods to measure change in medication over time. We found no questionnaire that was commonly used for this purpose, nor one that had been evaluated and published. Considerable work has been undertaken to develop questionnaires or diaries for individual projects, but because these tools and their validation are rarely published, they are not available for other researchers to use, and comparison across studies is difficult. Some work has been done developing diary formats and the Medication Quantification Scale converts complex medication change data to a single numerical score.

Conclusion: Medication change is rarely considered as an outcome, and when it is measured, nonstandardized methods are used. More attention needs to be given to developing self-report tools and validating them across a range of criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Drug Therapy
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations