Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Many patients have trouble identifying their medications

Date:
December 3, 2013
Source:
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
People who identified their medication by shape, size or color instead of name had poorer adherence and an increased risk of hospitalization, finds a recent study.

Many patients have trouble identifiying their medications.
Credit: Oleksii Nykonchuk / Fotolia

People who identify their blood pressure medications by shape, size and color instead of by name may risk poor blood pressure control and increase their risk of hospitalization, finds a recent study in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives.

"Much of our team's previous research focus has been on people's ability to take medications safely and to understand how cognitive function affects that," said lead author Jennifer L. Lenahan, formerly of the Health Literacy and Learning Program in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

"We noticed anecdotally in a number of other studies that patients had a lot of trouble identifying their medications."

Even with proper labeling, many people struggle with organizing and taking medications correctly. Patients may recognize that a pill has a certain look but generic medications frequently change their look, which can be confusing, the authors said.

The researchers interviewed a group of Midwestern safety-net patients over age 50 and with high blood pressure to evaluate their knowledge of drug names and dosages or their pills' visual characteristics. They also tested their health literacy and asked them about recent hospitalizations or visits to the emergency department.

Specifically, the authors honed in on "identification strategies, self-reported adherence and health outcomes. Patients who were dependent on the visual identification of their prescription medicine reported worse adherence. In addition, they had significantly lower rates of blood pressure control and greater risk of hospitalization," they wrote.

In general, patients had trouble correctly naming their medications, said Lenahan, and this ability correlated with levels of health literacy. And not surprisingly, the authors said, "patients who could not identify their medications by either name or appearance were more likely to self-report poorer adherence than were those who could identify their medications."

"The work by Lenahan and colleagues further demonstrates the need to counsel patients on safe and appropriate medication use and ensure that every patient has a full understanding of the medications they have been prescribed," said Stacy Cooper Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H. at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. "This is essential to promoting patient safety and ensuring high quality care. This article is unique in that it links patients' knowledge of their medication names to blood pressure control and healthcare utilization."

Bailey also said the report shows the potential danger of relying solely on visual descriptions of medications. "As the appearance of certain drugs may vary over time and patients are often switched from brand name drugs to generics that are a different size, shape or color, ensuring patients know the actual name of their medications is key," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. The original article was written by Stephanie Stephens. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer L. Lenahan, Danielle M. McCarthy, Terry C. Davis, Laura M. Curtis, Marina Serper & Michael S. Wolf. A Drug by Any Other Name: Patients' Ability to Identify Medication Regimens and Its Association with Adherence and Health Outcomes. Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, 2013 DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2013.82567

Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Many patients have trouble identifying their medications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203144245.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. (2013, December 3). Many patients have trouble identifying their medications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203144245.htm
Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. "Many patients have trouble identifying their medications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203144245.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins