Can You Spare a Pain Pill? Significant Proportion of U.S. Reports Rx Medication Sharing

In one-on-one interviews with 700 Americans, roughly 23 percent reported loaning their prescription medications to someone else, and 27 percent reported borrowing prescription medications. The medications most frequently shared (loaned or borrowed) were allergy drugs like Allegra (25 percent), followed by pain medications like Darvoset and OxyContin (22 percent); and antibiotics like amoxicillin (21 percent). Seven percent of those interviewed said they shared mood-altering drugs like Paxil, Zoloft, Ritalin and Valium. A little more than 6 percent said they shared the prescription anti-acne drug Accutane and about 5 percent shared birth control pills. The survey also showed that Whites (23 percent) and Hispanics (26 percent) were more apt to share prescription pain medicines than were African Americans (14 percent). Women were more apt than men to share antibiotics (24 percent vs. 12 percent). People seemed most willing to share prescription medicine when the medication came from a family member, they had a prescription for a particular medication but ran out of it or did not have it with them, or they had an emergency. “Prescription medication sharing can lead to adverse outcomes at the societal level through such consequences as ineffective use of the health system and increased antibiotic resistance, and at the personal level through such effects as decreased treatment efficacy and increased risk for side effects and drug interactions,” the study’s authors said. [From: Beyond Abuse and Exposure: Framing the Impact of Prescription- Medication Sharing. Contact: Richard C. Goldsworthy, PhD, Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, Ind., rick@academicedge.com
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