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96% of hospital patients do not know which drugs they are taking

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Hospital patients are unaware of the names of the medications they are prescribed in hospital, with many believing they are taking a drug they are not, according to a study.

Patients visiting hospitals were asked about their medications during hospital visits, by researchers from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

As many as 96% did not know the name of at least one drug they were taking while 44% wrongly thought they were taking a particular type of drug they were not.

The study was conducted in order to assess attitudes and awareness surrounding patient knowledge of medication. With medication errors found in one in every five doses by one review, the patient can represent the last in a chain preventing the incorrect medication being given.

Lead researcher Ethan Cumbler, M.D., assistant professor of medicine said: “Our findings are particularly striking in that we found significant deficits in patient understanding of their hospital medications even among patients who believed they knew, or desired to know, what is being prescribed to them in the hospital.”

The most commonly omitted scheduled medication was antibiotics, at 17%, with cardiovascular drugs and antithrombotics close behind with 16% and 15% respectively.

Analgesics and gastrointestinal medications were the most commonly omitted among those taken as needed by patients.

These findings were published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Mertha Nyamande RMN

    Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
    I think medicine worked better when patients took whatever they were given and played the role. Unfortunately, the likes of Shipman took that trust away. Doctors knew how to treat patients then and more was done to remedy ailments. Now, a patient goes to the GP after they have already diagnosed themselves, just to ask for a certain prescription. GPs are just prescribers more than anything else. Ailments are no longer examined or thoroughly investigated anymore.
    I recently had a patient die only hours after being seen by a GP and obviously not thoroughly assessed. For me, that's a concern. Practitioners have been left powerless to do what they are paid to do because of too much political influence everywhere these days. Its such a shame that patients' best interest is overtaken by a monetary argument. No one cares anymore, especially those who are in leadership. Its all about the money.
    What difference does it make whether I take the red pill or the blue pill, all that matters is I get well/cured at the end of the day. Its good to hope for ideals, but its also important to acknowledge the reality.
    More should be done to ensure we have morals at the top of the agenda not how much it costs. Coz what really matters does not cost anything.

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