August 10, 2014
Author Michael Johnsen reports in Drug Store News that a new national survey by FindLaw.com reports that as many as 24% of survey respondents report that they have either taken a medication prescribed for someone else, or have given their own prescription to someone else. When we read a statistic like that we most often think of intentional prescription drug abuse. While the epidemic of prescription drug abuse is important, it is equally important to note that the survey indicated that 95% of the time, patients’ misuse of prescription medications was to ‘self-medicate a medical condition’.
As health care professionals, we go to great lengths to obtain as much prescription information as we can from pharmacies, hospitals, insurance companies, electronic medical records, health information exchanges and the like so that when we determine what medications a patient is actually taking we have as complete a picture as possible. Of course, those sources only provide information on medications that were actually prescribed for the patient. This study reminds us that a quarter of the time there are unknown prescription medications that must be identified, and incorporating the results of the patient medication interview into the medication reconciliation and medication management process is a critical step. The full article in Drug Store News can be accessed at: http://www.drugstorenews.com/article/one-four-americans-purposefully-misuse-prescription-drugs
Joseph Gruber, RPh, CGP, FASCP , Chief Clinical Officer ActualMeds Corp