Background and importance Prescription medications can have serious negative health outcomes when they are misused or abused, such as when they are shared.1 Very little research has investigated healthcare providers’ perceptions of prescription medication sharing (PMS) among adults.1
Aim and objectives The aim of the study was to examine healthcare providers’ (HCP) attitudes towards, and experiences of, PMS among adults.
Material and methods Qualitative interviews were carried out using Beyene’s questionnaire1 in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, with 31 HCPs, selected via snowball sampling. 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 were then asked to refer to one or more colleagues 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 May to September 2019. Participants were eligible to take part if they were doctors, pharmacists or nurses, able to communicate in Arabic or English, and were aged ≥18 years. 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 Four overarching themes were identified in this study: ‘types of shared medications’ such as antibiotics, antihypertensives, cardiovascular, diabetic and cholesterol medicines; ‘perceived benefits of sharing medicines’ such as social support and saving time and money; ‘negative experience of sharing medicines’ such as personal and public health risks; ‘reasons for medication sharing’ such as lack of access to healthcare services or medicines, lack of medication knowledge, cost of medication, forgetfulness, medication non-adherence and altruistic reasons. Cultural influence, excessive amount of medication supply and lack of information about safe disposal were reasons that appeared to be specific to the Saudi culture.
Conclusion and relevance PMS was perceived as a behaviour with positive and negative outcomes. Interventions should be established to reduce PMS behaviour.
References and/or acknowledgements 1. Beyene KA, Aspden TJ, Sheridan JL. A qualitative exploration of healthcare providers’ perspectives on patients’ non-recreational, prescription medicines sharing behaviours. JPPR 2018;48:158–166.
No conflict of interest.