Objectives: The consumption of medicines has been increasing over the last decades. The lack of medication knowledge (MK) may affect the process of medication use and, consequently, may lead to negative health outcomes. This study carried out a pilot study using a new tool to assess MK in older patients in a daily clinical practice.
Materials and methods: An exploratory cross-sectional study was conducted, including older patients (≥65 years), taking two or more medicines, followed in a regional clinic. Data were collected during a structured interview, which included an algorithm for assessing MK regarding the identification of the medicines and its use and storage conditions. Health literacy and treatment adherence were also assessed.
Results: The study enrolled 49 patients, mainly between 65 and 75 years (n: 33; 67.3%) and polymedicated (n: 40; 81.6%), taking a mean of 6.9 ± 2.8 medicines per day. A lack of MK (score <50%) was observed in 15 (30.6%) participant patients. "Drug strength" and "storage conditions" were the items which presented the lowest score. MK was positively correlated with higher scores for health literacy and treatment adherence. Younger patients (age <65 years old) also had a higher MK score.
Conclusion: This study showed that the applied tool could evaluate the MK of the participants and identified specific gaps regarding MK within the process of medicine use. Further studies, with more participants, will allow the confirmation of these findings and will stimulate the development of specific strategies to improve MK, thus contributing to better health outcomes.
Keywords: Older patients; health literacy; patient medication knowledge; treatment adherence.
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