Medicine use and medicine-related problems experienced by ethnic minority patients in the United Kingdom: a review

Int J Pharm Pract. 2013 Oct;21(5):277-87. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12007. Epub 2012 Nov 13.


Objective: The aim of this review was to establish type(s) and possible cause(s) of medicine-related problems (MRPs) experienced by ethnic minorities in the UK and to identify recommendations to support these patients in the effective use of medicines.

Methods: A systematic search of studies related to problems with medicine use experienced by ethnic minorities in the UK was performed using the following databases: PubMed, Embase, International Pharmaceutical Abstract and Scopus from 1990 to 2011. A hand search for relevant citations and key journals was also performed.

Key findings: Fifteen studies were found. The MRPs identified across studies included lack of information, problems with not taking medicines as advised, concern of dependency or side effects, lack of regular monitoring and review, risk of adverse drug reactions, adverse events and problems in accessing healthcare services. Many problems are common in other groups, however, studies examining possible explanatory factors discussed how the cultural and religious beliefs, previous experiences, different expectations, language and communication barriers, lack of knowledge of the healthcare services and underestimating patients' desire for information may contribute to the problems. Some of the recommendations were made based on the problems that were found, but these have not been evaluated.

Conclusions: Little evidence is known of what influences MRPs among ethnic minorities, despite the increased diversification of populations in countries throughout the world. To support their entire populations in the use of medicines, we have to ensure that we understand their different perspectives and needs regarding the effective use of medicines.

Keywords: inequality and ethnic minorities; medicine management; medicine use; medicine-related problems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Drug Therapy*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Minority Groups*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • United Kingdom / ethnology