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      Risk perception about medication sharing among patients: a focus group qualitative study on borrowing and lending of prescription analgesics

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          One form of self-medication is sharing of medications, defined as borrowing or lending medications in situations where the receiver of these drugs is not the individual to whom the medications were allocated.


          To explore experiences and opinions of patients about sharing prescription analgesics, reasons for sharing prescription analgesics, the way in which patients choose to share those medications, their awareness of risk regarding sharing prescription analgesics, and how they estimated the potential risk.


          This qualitative study was conducted by focus group discussions with 40 participants led by a moderator trained in focus group methodology using a semi-structured moderator guide. Adults aged ≥18 years who had received a prescription for an analgesic at least once in a lifetime were included. Six separate focus groups were conducted to discuss participants’ perception of risks associated with sharing of prescription analgesics among patients. Additionally, participants filled out two questionnaires on demographic data, their own behavior regarding sharing analgesics, and their attitudes about risks associated with sharing prescription analgesics.


          In a questionnaire, 55% of the participants indicated that they personally shared prescription analgesics, while subsequently in the focus group discussions, 76% confessed to such behavior. Participants recognized certain risks related to sharing of prescription analgesics, mentioned a number of reasons for engaging in such behavior, and indicated certain positive aspects of such behavior. Forty-five percent of the participants indicated that sharing prescription analgesics is riskier than sharing nonprescription analgesics.


          There is a prevalent attitude among participants that sharing prescription analgesics is a positive behavior, where potential benefits outweigh risks.

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          Most cited references 32

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          What about N? A methodological study of sample-size reporting in focus group studies

          Background Focus group studies are increasingly published in health related journals, but we know little about how researchers use this method, particularly how they determine the number of focus groups to conduct. The methodological literature commonly advises researchers to follow principles of data saturation, although practical advise on how to do this is lacking. Our objectives were firstly, to describe the current status of sample size in focus group studies reported in health journals. Secondly, to assess whether and how researchers explain the number of focus groups they carry out. Methods We searched PubMed for studies that had used focus groups and that had been published in open access journals during 2008, and extracted data on the number of focus groups and on any explanation authors gave for this number. We also did a qualitative assessment of the papers with regard to how number of groups was explained and discussed. Results We identified 220 papers published in 117 journals. In these papers insufficient reporting of sample sizes was common. The number of focus groups conducted varied greatly (mean 8.4, median 5, range 1 to 96). Thirty seven (17%) studies attempted to explain the number of groups. Six studies referred to rules of thumb in the literature, three stated that they were unable to organize more groups for practical reasons, while 28 studies stated that they had reached a point of saturation. Among those stating that they had reached a point of saturation, several appeared not to have followed principles from grounded theory where data collection and analysis is an iterative process until saturation is reached. Studies with high numbers of focus groups did not offer explanations for number of groups. Too much data as a study weakness was not an issue discussed in any of the reviewed papers. Conclusions Based on these findings we suggest that journals adopt more stringent requirements for focus group method reporting. The often poor and inconsistent reporting seen in these studies may also reflect the lack of clear, evidence-based guidance about deciding on sample size. More empirical research is needed to develop focus group methodology.
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            Self-medication and non-doctor prescription practices in Pokhara valley, Western Nepal: a questionnaire-based study

            Background Self-medication and non-doctor prescribing of drugs is common in developing countries. Complementary and alternative medications, especially herbs, are also commonly used. There are few studies on the use of these medications in Pokhara Valley, Western Nepal. Methods Previously briefed seventh semester medical students, using a semi-structured questionnaire, carried out the study on 142 respondents. Demographic information and information on drugs used for self-medication or prescribed by a non-allopathic doctor were collected. Results Seventy-six respondents (54%) were aged between 20 to 39 years. The majority of the respondents (72 %) stayed within 30 minutes walking distance of a health post/medical store. 59% of these respondents had taken some form of self-medication in the 6-month period preceding the study. The common reasons given for self-medication were mild illness, previous experience of treating a similar illness, and non-availability of health personnel. 70% of respondents were prescribed allopathic drugs by a non-allopathic doctor. The compounder and health assistant were common sources of medicines. Paracetamol and antimicrobials were the drugs most commonly prescribed. A significantly higher proportion of young (<40 years) male respondents had used self-medication than other groups. Conclusions Self-medication and non-doctor prescribing are common in the Pokhara valley. In addition to allopathic drugs, herbal remedies were also commonly used for self-medication. Drugs, especially antimicrobials, were not taken for the proper duration. Education to help patients decide on the appropriateness of self-medication is required.
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              Risks of self-medication practices.

              Self-medication is defined as the selection and use of medicines by individuals (or a member of the individuals' family) to treat self-recognized or self-diagnosed conditions or symptoms. Several benefits have been linked to appropriate self-medication, among them: increased access to medication and relief for the patient, the active role of the patient in his or her own health care, better use of physicians and pharmacists skills and reduced (or at least optimized) burden of governments due to health expenditure linked to the treatment of minor health conditions However, self-medication is far from being a completely safe practice, in particular in the case of non-responsible self-medication. Potential risks of self-medication practices include: incorrect self-diagnosis, delays in seeking medical advice when needed, infrequent but severe adverse reactions, dangerous drug interactions, incorrect manner of administration, incorrect dosage, incorrect choice of therapy, masking of a severe disease and risk of dependence and abuse. In this short review the author analyzes recent literature on some of the most important dangers related to self-medication practices, particularly: polypharmacy and drug interactions, medications abuse or dependence, misdiagnosis and incorrect choice of treatment. The author also proposes measures that could be adopted in order to solve or improve these issues.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                10 February 2017
                : 10
                : 365-374
                [1 ]Centre for Clinical Pharmacology, University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
                [2 ]Department of Family Medicine, University of Split School of Medicine, Split
                [3 ]Family Medicine Clinic, Health Centre Imotski, Kamenmost
                [4 ]Laboratory for Pain Research, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Livia Puljak, Laboratory for Pain Research, University of Split School of Medicine, Šoltanska 2, 21000 Split, Croatia, Tel +385 21 557 807, Fax +385 21 557 811, Email livia@ 123456mefst.hr
                © 2017 Markotic et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                risk estimation, risk awareness, drugs, self-medication, pain


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