Background and importance Prescription medication sharing (PMS) among patients and their family members and friends is a common practice that can lead to serious health risks.1 However, very little research has investigated PMS from the general public’s perspective.1
Aim and objectives The aim of the study was to examine the general public’s attitudes towards, and experiences of, PMS in Saudi Arabia.
Material and methods Qualitative interviews were carried out using Beyene’s questionnaire1 in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, with 60 Saudi participants, selected via a snowball sampling strategy. Researchers of this study recommended potential participants from their relatives and friends, who met the inclusion criteria, to take part in the study. Those participants then recommended additional participants who met the inclusion criteria for possible study enrolment. Once referred, the researchers then contacted potential participants to explain the study and assess their interest and eligibility. Interviews were conducted either on the telephone or face to face, at a mutually agreeable time and place from November 2018 to April 2019. The eligibility criteria comprised the ability to communicate in Arabic or English, age ≥18 years and taking a prescribed medication. Interviews were conducted as needed until data saturation was achieved. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using NVivo 10 software. Ethics approval was obtained from Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University.
Results Sixty individuals took part in the interviews. The majority of participants were women (75%) and aged 18–24 (48%) years. Five overarching themes were identified in this study: types of shared medications, perceived advantages of sharing medicines, negative experience of sharing medicines, factors influencing medicine sharing practices and diverse approaches used by participants to help them evaluate whether the sharing was risky or not. An exploration of these overarching themes demonstrated many similarities in line with evidence from the international literature, although some differences were also identified which may appear to be specific to the Saudi population.
Conclusion and relevance The findings of this study can be used to inform the development of successful interventions to reduce PMS behaviour.
References and/or acknowledgements 1. Beyene K, Aspden T, Sheridan J. Prescription medicine sharing: exploring patients’ beliefs and experiences. J Pharm Policy Pract 2016;9:23. DOI 10.1186/s40545-016-0075-5.
No conflict of interest.
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