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Beliefs about medicines are strongly associated with medicine-use patterns among the general population

Journal article
Authors Karolina Andersson Sundell
A. K. Jonsson
Published in International Journal of Clinical Practice
Volume 70
Issue 3
Pages 277-285
ISSN 1368-5031
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 277-285
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijcp.12781
Keywords alternative medicine, pharmacoepidemiologic research, medication, complementary, adherence, risks, questionnaire, products, benefits, health
Subject categories Health Sciences

Abstract

AimsTo investigate self-reported beliefs and perceived sensitivity to medicines and their effects in relation to self-reported use of medicines and herbal remedies. MethodsA survey sent to 13,931 randomly selected Swedish adults included the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire-General (BMQ-General) Questionnaire and the Perceived Sensitivity to Medicines Scale (PSM). The survey also asked about individuals' use of prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and herbal remedies in the past month. We examined all associations between scores on the BMQ-General subscales and PSM in relation to the use of medicines and herbal remedies, using analysis of covariance adjusted for potential confounders. ResultsAmong 7099 respondents, those using herbal remedies exclusively believed strongly that prescription and OTC medicines are harmful and overprescribed. Respondents using prescription and OTC medicines reported more positive beliefs [coefficient 0.67 (95% CI 0.47-0.87) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.51-0.90)] on the benefits of medicines compared with those using herbal remedies [-0.18 (95% CI -0.57-0.20)]. Perceived sensitivity to medicines was higher among those using herbal remedies only [1.25 (95% CI 0.46-2.03)] compared with those using no medicines (reference 0) or prescription [-0.44 (95% CI -0.84 to -0.05)] or OTC [-0.27 (95% CI -0.66-0.12)] medicines alone. ConclusionRespondents using prescription and/or OTC medicines reported stronger positive beliefs about the benefits of medicines in general, supporting the hypothesis that beliefs influence medicine use. Therefore, addressing beliefs and concerns about medicines during patient counselling may influence medicine use, particularly regarding unintentional non-adherence.

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