Perceptions of Communities Regarding Look-Twin Sound-Twin Drugs: A Case Study of a Sub-District in the Northeastern Region of Thailand

Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2021 Jun 3;14:2345-2355. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S303899. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Background and objectives: Look-twin sound-twin (LTST)-drug-related problems are a worldwide concern because they are associated with safety among medication users. LTST drugs make up one of four types of potentially inappropriate medications circulating within communities. The present study investigates people's perspectives on characteristics of LTST drugs, their experience of use, and abilities to differentiate LTST drugs.

Methods: The research was conducted via a survey. The data were collected through interviews with individuals aged between 18 and 75 from 330 households during the period November 2017-February 2019.

Results: The majority of the participants, accounting for 97.9% of the interviewees were found to have experienced or used them previously. The essential features that enabled the participants to identify LTST drug pairs were similarities in terms of their appearance (93.6%), packaging (82.7%), medication names (76.1%), and medication labels (70.6%). The majority of the interviewees were unable to differentiate between the drugs in LTST drug pairs. In fact, while the drugs in one LTST drug pairs were distinguished accurately with the rate of 79.4%, 44 pairs of drugs were separated accurately by less than 35%. Furthermore, drugs in eight LTST drug pairs could not be accurately differentiated.

Conclusion: LTST-drugs-related problems in communities arise from the lack of a monitoring system and effective law enforcement. In fact, they are associated with people's safety in medication use, for most people are unable to distinguish differences among LTST drugs due to their similarities in terms of packaging, physical appearances, and drug names.

Keywords: LTST drugs; inappropriate drugs; look-twin sound-twin drugs; safety in medication use; self-medication.