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Patients’ Experiences and Perspectives of Receiving Written Medicine Information About Medicines: A Qualitative Study

Authors Wongtaweepkij K, Corlett S, Krska J, Pongwecharak J, Jarernsiripornkul N

Received 22 December 2020

Accepted for publication 18 February 2021

Published 9 March 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 569—580


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Kamonphat Wongtaweepkij,1 Sarah Corlett,2 Janet Krska,2 Juraporn Pongwecharak,3 Narumol Jarernsiripornkul1

1Division of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 2Medway School of Pharmacy, The Universities of Greenwich and Kent, Kent, UK; 3Pharmacy Practice and Management Research Unit, Division of Pharmaceutical Care, Faculty of Pharmacy, Rangsit Center, Thammasat University, Pathumthani, Thailand

Correspondence: Narumol Jarernsiripornkul
Division of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, 40002, Thailand
Email [email protected]
Sarah Corlett
Medway School of Pharmacy, The Universities of Greenwich and Kent, Chatham, Maritime, Kent, UK
Email [email protected]

Purpose: Written medicine information informs patients about the benefits and risks of medicines and supports their safe and effective use. In Thailand, patient information leaflets (PILs) are not obligatory and therefore not routinely supplied. This study aimed to explore the experiences and information needs of patients, their views on PILs and the likely impact of PILs on their knowledge, perceptions and behaviors towards medicines. These factors are important to establish the value of PILs.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews with outpatients who received simvastatin or atorvastatin were conducted exploring their experiences of receiving medicine information, their views on the utility of and need for PILs, the impact of PILs on their behaviors, and recommendations for how PILs could be improved. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a framework approach.
Results: Thirty interviews were conducted from which four themes emerged: experience of receiving medicine information, views of package inserts and PILs, impact of PILs on knowledge, perceptions and behaviors, and patients’ need for medicine information. Most participants received verbal information from healthcare professionals, as well as written information. Verbal information was perceived as being particularly useful to inform about changes to medicine regimens or the long-term adverse effects of medicines. Patients perceived that the PILs had influenced their knowledge about medicines, and also their behaviors including safety awareness, adherence, and engagement with healthcare professionals. Participants suggested that the information in electronic format could provide an additional resource. Some changes to improve the content and general format of the PIL were identified.
Conclusion: PILs are perceived as useful by patients and met their information needs, although they were viewed as an adjunct to verbal advice provided by healthcare professionals. PILs influenced patients’ medicine taking behaviors and encouraged sharing of information with their physicians.

Keywords: patient information leaflets, patients’ experience, needs, perceptions, qualitative research

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