Patients' understanding and management of their illnesses and prescribed medicines--a descriptive study

Pharm World Sci. 2005 Aug;27(4):321-8. doi: 10.1007/s11096-005-5999-9.


Objective: The objective of this study was to explore patients' understanding and management of their illnesses and prescribed medicines.

Method: Patients receiving three or more repeat prescription drugs were interviewed in their homes after their repeat prescriptions had drug-related problem (DRP) identified by a community pharmacist in a GP surgery.

Results: In total, 58 patients were interviewed. Patients distinguished strongly between 'forgetting' and 'taking less' of their medicines, and some actively reduced the dose themselves. More than 25% of the patients involved their spouse in the administration of their medicines. Patients had more worries about their illness (48%) than their medicines (31%). Any changes made to their present medication, or introduction of new medicines, were thought to 'upset the balance'.

Conclusion: More information is needed on patients' perspectives, both on side effects, compliance and how to deal with long-term medication. Health care professionals should seek to understand and respect patients' choices to assure optimal care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Polypharmacy*