Background: Diabetic patients' experience and knowledge about their medication play an important role in determining the success of long-term adherence in their disease management.
Objective: This study aimed to explore diabetic patients' experience and knowledge about diabetes and its medication and to understand the factors contributing to medication adherence in Malaysian population.
Methods: A qualitative research approach was adopted to gain a better understanding of the current perceptions and knowledge held by diabetic patients. Twelve patients were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Saturation point of the interview was reached after the 10th interview, and no more new themes emerged from the subsequent 2 interviews. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed by means of a standard content analysis framework.
Results: A total of 4 themes were identified from the interview analysis: knowledge about diabetes and its medication, experiences of adverse effects of medication, issues related to adherence, and the impact of medical and family relationships on well-being. Most of the patients were aware of the disease known as diabetes but unaware which type of diabetes they were suffering from. None of the participants knew the adverse effects of their medication, and most of them considered it to be safe. Financial barriers, forgetfulness, self-medication, and quality of relationships with doctor and family members seem to be the factors that challenge adherence in our sample of diabetic patients.
Conclusion: This study identified a number of key themes that might be useful in enhancing the awareness of experiences, knowledge, adherence, and attitudes of Malaysian patients with diabetes. More efforts should be taken to estimate how diabetic patients take their medication, and a well-planned educational program is also required to educate and encourage patients to practice a healthy lifestyle.
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