Journal of Pain Research (2016-11-01)

Risks associated with borrowing and sharing of prescription analgesics among patients observed by pain management physicians in Croatia: a qualitative study

  • Markotic F,
  • Puljak L

Journal volume & issue
Vol. Volume 9
pp. 1143 – 1151

Abstract

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Filipa Markotic,1 Livia Puljak2 1Centre for Clinical Pharmacology, University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 2Laboratory for Pain Research, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia Background: Understanding and improving patient safety is a key issue in medicine. One of the potential threats to patient safety is the sharing of medication among patients, which is a form of self-medication. This study analyzed experiences and attitudes of pain management physicians (PMPs) about sharing prescription analgesics among patients.Methods: This qualitative study was conducted by semi-structured interviews among PMPs employed in Croatian pain clinics. The study involved two researchers and 15 PMPs.Results: Among PMPs, 80% have seen patients who share their prescription analgesics with other patients for whom prescription is not intended. Most PMPs consider prescription analgesics sharing a risky and negative behavior. Some of them, however, found certain positive aspects associated to it, such as being a benevolent behavior, helping patients to get medications when they need them, and helping them cope with pain.Conclusion: The majority of physicians specialized in pain management encountered patients sharing prescription analgesics. Most of them considered this as risky behavior with a number of potential consequences. It has been noted that this problem is neglected and that physicians should inquire about medication sharing. Direct-to-consumers advertising was perceived as a factor contributing to such behavior. Patient education and more involvement of physicians in identifying this behavior were cited as potential remedies for preventing sharing of prescription analgesics. Keywords: analgesics, sharing, lending, borrowing, risks

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