For Immediate Release
Contact: Media Relations, (202) 777-2509
mediarelations@apha.org

Substantial Proportion of People Who Borrow Prescription Drugs Experience Side Effects

Philadelphia, Pa. — Twenty-five percent of people who borrow prescription medications experience side effects, according to new research.

 

The study, which was presented at the American Public Health Association’s 137th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia, looked at whether prescription medication sharing, a common consumer health behavior, leads to adverse outcomes, including inappropriate usage, delayed care and exposure to side effects.

 

Along with confirming previous results regarding prevalence of medication sharing, this study provides a first look at several consequences of prescription medication sharing. First, a large proportion of the study participants who admitted borrowing prescription medications reported never receiving written (54.6 percent) or verbal (38.2 percent) warnings or instructions from the person loaning the medicine.

 

Second, although 77.3 percent of participants who borrowed medication reported doing so rather than visiting their health care provider, almost 1 in 3 of those people ended up going to a health care provider nonetheless, thereby delaying care. Moreover, among those who delayed care, half reported that they failed to tell the provider about the use of borrowed prescription medication.

 

Additionally, 25.1 percent of prescription borrowers indicated that they had experienced a side effect when borrowing prescription medication.

 

“The results provide evidence that prescription medication borrowing presents real risks. Borrowers are frequently bypassing instructions and warnings, are avoiding or delaying seeking care from health professionals, are not communicating their borrowing to their health care provider, and are experiencing allergic reactions or side effects when they borrow prescription medications,” said Richard Goldsworthy, MSEd, PhD, lead researcher on the study.

 

Session 5064.0 - Prescription Medication Sharing's Impact on Patient Health and Patient-Provider Relationships

 

Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 – 9:00 AM

 

Researchers:  Richard Goldsworthy, MSEd, PhD, and Christopher B. Mayhorn, PhD

 

Information for media:

The APHA Annual Meeting Press Office will be located in Room 302 of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The full Annual Meeting program and abstracts are available online at http://www.apha.org/meetings/sessions/. Final programs with session locations, along with daily highlights and other press materials, will be available on site at the APHA Press Office. Please visit our Web site for additional Annual Meeting press information.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.