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Patients Often Lack Knowledge of Their Own Medications

Last Updated: December 10, 2009.

Patients routinely under-report, or even over-report, their outpatient and inpatient medications, and should be included in hospital medication management to improve safety, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

THURSDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients routinely under-report, or even over-report, their outpatient and inpatient medications, and should be included in hospital medication management to improve safety, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Ethan Cumbler, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine conducted a study of 50 adult inpatients at a tertiary care academic teaching hospital who were approached within 24 hours of admission to compare their knowledge of their own medication regimen with records from the admitting physician.

The participants were taking an average of 5.7 outpatient medications and were prescribed an average of 11.3 scheduled and as-needed hospital medications, and all but 4 percent omitted to report one or more of the latter, the researchers found. Antibiotics, cardiovascular medications, and anti-thrombotics were the most commonly forgotten drug categories.

"Forty-four percent of patients believed they were receiving a medication in the hospital that was not actually prescribed," the authors write. "Our findings are 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. Without a system to incorporate the patient into hospital medication management, these patients will be disenfranchised from participating in inpatient medication safety."

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