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Travelling with multiple medicines: a source of medication error and non-adherent ‘forgetting’

Tudball, J., Ryan, K., Manias, E. and Smith, L. (2014) Travelling with multiple medicines: a source of medication error and non-adherent ‘forgetting’. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 10 (5). e57. ISSN 1934-8150

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2014.07.144


One commonly cited reason for medication non-adherence and errors is ‘forgetting’ to take medicines. Research has identified the difficulty of remembering to take medicines whilst away from home, yet little in-depth research exists that explores people’s own perspectives. This study examined the experiences of people taking multiple medicines to improve understanding of their daily use and management. Methods Participants were 34 Australians taking 5+ prescription or over-the-counter medicines, recruited through GPs, pharmacies, e-newsletters, consumer organisations and snowballing. Semi-structured narrative interviews explored: multiple medicines use, medicines management, maintaining usual life, and messages for others taking multiple medicines. Interviews were video- and/or audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Constant comparative thematic analysis was conducted. Results Travel was a key reason for forgetting to take medicines and making mistakes. Overseas travel and complex regimens posed particular challenges, such as crossing international datelines and maintaining medication routines when other daily routines were suspended. Packing medicines was complex, time-consuming and vulnerable to mistakes. The main challenges in travelling with medicines included: packing the correct doses for the period of travel; storage; availability of medicines at destination; language barriers; access to health services. Effective strategies for travelling with multiple medicines came with experience and knowledge gained from mishaps. Conclusions People who take multiple medicines face challenges adhering to their medication regimen when travelling and devise many useful strategies from which others can learn. Patient’s experiences of travelling with multiple medicines can be informative for the community pharmacist who receives customer requests for advice about travelling with medicines, and from out-of-town customers with medication concerns.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmacy Practice Research Group
ID Code:70599

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