Patients' knowledge of drug treatments after hospitalisation: the key role of information

Swiss Med Wkly. 2007 Nov 3;137(43-44):614-20.


Question under study: Patients often do not know the reasons for taking their medications after hospital discharge. We investigated whether lack of such knowledge was associated with patients' report of not having received information about their medications while hospitalised.

Methods: Patients with at least one long-term drug (ie, prescribed for more than 30 days) discharged from the wards of general internal medicine of a teaching hospital were included in the study. Patients' knowledge of the reasons for taking these drugs and their report of having received information while hospitalised were assessed by phone one week after discharge.

Results: 362 (98.6%) of 367 enrolled patients could be interviewed and provided data on 1693/1871 (90.5%) long-term drugs prescribed at discharge. Patients knew the reasons for taking 1382 (81.6%) drugs and reported having received information about 259 (15.3%) of them. In the adjusted analysis, the reason for taking a drug was less likely to be known when introduced during hospitalisation (OR: 0.7; 95%CI: 0.5 to 0.9), among older patients (OR for > or =80 years of age v/s 20-59: 0.41; 95%CI: 0.22 to 0.76) and among those staying longer (OR per additional hospital day: 0.96; 95%CI: 0.94 to 0.99); such knowledge was strongly and positively associated with the report of having received information during hospitalisation (OR: 7.3; 95%CI: 3.2 to 16.1).

Conclusion: Patients' report of having received information about their long-term drugs during hospitalisation was associated with a significantly higher knowledge of the reasons for taking them. However, receipt of such information was only infrequently reported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Drug Therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Switzerland


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations