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Polypharmacy

Medication burden has major role in patient experiences

Analysis of 1,144 patients finds intolerable medication burden may result in non-adherence and poor outcomes.

Close-up of a pill box showing different number of medicines

Source: OJO Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Taking a lot of medicines could negatively impact people with chronic conditions

There has been increasing attention on how patient experiences affect outcomes in chronic conditions. However, most studies have focused on select conditions and little is known about the role of medication burden. 

To address this, researchers from the University of Sydney analysed qualitative data on 1,144 patients with a range of chronic conditions. They found that the day-to-day burden of medication plays a major role in patients’ health and well-being, and in their beliefs about medicine. 

Intolerable medication burden often resulted in non-adherence and poor outcomes, for example many patients attempted to juggle their own medication without consulting their healthcare professional. 

The researchers conclude in the BMJ Open[1] that taking patient experiences into account when making therapeutic decisions could improve outcomes, and healthcare professionals should encourage patients to discuss the challenges of their medication.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20200875

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  • Close-up of a pill box showing different number of medicines

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