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Trivial or Troublesome: Experience with Coronary Heart Disease Medication from the Patient’s Perspective

Authors Östbring MJ, Hellström L, Mårtensson J

Received 6 September 2019

Accepted for publication 11 January 2020

Published 27 February 2020 Volume 2020:14 Pages 411—424


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Malin Johansson Östbring,1,2 Lina Hellström,1,2 Jan Mårtensson3

1Pharmaceutical Department Region Kalmar County, Kalmar, Sweden; 2eHealth Institute, Department of Medicine and Optometry, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden; 3Department of Nursing, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden

Correspondence: Malin Johansson Östbring
Pharmaceutical Department Region Kalmar County, Building 2, House 2, Kalmar County Hospital, Kalmar SE-391 85, Sweden
Tel +46 70 289 32 55
Email [email protected]

Background: Living with coronary heart disease (CHD) usually means being prescribed several medications to help prevent new cardiac events. Using medicines for long-term conditions impacts on day-to-day life, and coping with medicines can be burdensome and can affect the quality of life. To enable better support of these patients, we need to understand their collective medicine-related experience.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe patients’ medicine-related experience 1 year after the diagnosis of CHD.
Patients and Methods: A qualitative, descriptive study using semi-structured interviews was conducted in 19 patients in their homes or at Linnaeus University, Sweden. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative content analysis with an inductive approach was used.
Results: Patients’ experiences with using their medicines after diagnosis of CHD differed considerably. Some patients found handling the medicines and administering their treatment very easy, natural and straightforward, while others found that it was distressing or troublesome, and influenced their lives extensively. There was a varied sense of personal responsibility about the treatment and use of medicines. The patients’ experiences were classified into one of seven categories: a sense of security, unproblematic, learning to live with it, taking responsibility for it, somewhat uncertain, troublesome, or distressing. Participants in the study who expressed an unproblematic view of medicine taking also often revealed that they had dilemmas or uncertainties.
Conclusion: Patients’ medicine-related experiences after CHD vary greatly. The findings of this study highlight a need for more individualized support for patients using medicines for secondary prevention. The patients often needed better dialogue with healthcare providers to optimally manage their medicines. Medicine-related support for these patients should encompass various aspects of medicine-taking.

Keywords: coronary artery disease, qualitative research, patient experience, medicine management

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