Aim To identify what medicines related information children/young people or their parents/carers are able to recall following an out-patient clinic appointment.
Method A convenience sample of patients' prescribed at least one new long-term (>6 weeks) medicine were recruited from a single UK paediatric hospital out-patient pharmacy.
A face-to-face semi-structured questionnaire was administered to participants when they presented with their prescription. The questionnaire included the following themes: names of the medicines, therapeutic indication, dose regimen, duration of treatment and adverse effects.
The results were analysed using Microsoft Excel 2013.
Results One hundred participants consented and were included in the study. One hundred and forty-five medicines were prescribed in total. Participants were able to recall the names of 96 (66%) medicines and were aware of the therapeutic indication for 142 (97.9%) medicines. The dose regimen was accurately described for 120 (82.8%) medicines with the duration of treatment known for 132 (91%). Participants mentioned that they had been advised about side effects for 44 (30.3%) medicines. Specific counselling points recommended by the BNFc1, were either omitted or not recalled by participants for the following systemic treatments: cetirizine (1), chlorphenamine (1), desmopressin (2), hydroxyzine (2), itraconazole (1), piroxicam (2), methotrexate (1), stiripentol (1) and topiramate (1).
Conclusion Following an out-patient consultation, where a new medicine is prescribed, children and their parents/carers are usually able to recall the indication, dose regimen and duration of treatment. Few were able to recall, or were told about, possible adverse effects. This may include some important drug specific effects that require vigilance during treatment.
Patients, along with families and carers, should be involved in the decision to prescribe a medicine.2 This includes a discussion about the benefits of the medicine on the patient's condition and possible adverse effects.2 Treatment side effects have been shown to be a factor in treatment non-adherence in paediatric long-term medical conditions.3 Practitioners should explain to patients, and their family members or carers where appropriate, how to identify and report medicines-related patient safety incidents.4 However, this study suggests that medical staff may not be comfortable discussing the adverse effects of medicines with patients or their parents/carers.
Further research in to the shared decision making process in the paediatric out-patient clinic when a new long-term medicine is prescribed is required to further support medicines adherence and the patient safety agenda.
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