Prevalence and predictors of medicine saving and future prescription medicine sharing: findings from a New Zealand online survey

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Abstract

Objectives

To assess the prevalence of and factors predicting future prescription medicine sharing behaviours among adults in New Zealand (NZ). The prevalence and predictors of having leftover medicines at home and the relationship between medicine storing and sharing practices were also explored.

Methods

An online, self-administered survey of a convenience sample of NZ adults was conducted. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between explanatory and outcome variables.

Key findings

Two hundred and thirty three participants took part, who were mostly members of patient support groups across NZ. A high prevalence of leftover medicine storing practices (72.4%), future prescription medicine borrowing (72.8%) and lending (68.7%) behaviours was documented. Over half of the participants (57.1%) had never received advice from healthcare providers about the safe disposal of medicines, and 79.7% reported never having received information about risks of medicine sharing from healthcare providers. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, high income, having asthma and having leftover medicines stored at home were found to be positive predictors of future medicine lending or borrowing intentions. Further, high income was a positive predictor of having leftover medicines stored at home. Conversely, those with hypertension would be less likely to lend or borrow medicines.

Conclusions

The high prevalence of leftover medicine storing practices and future medicine sharing intentions among adults in NZ suggests it may be beneficial to provide patient and public education about appropriate use of prescribed medicines and safe medicine disposal procedures. Further research is needed to elicit effective strategies to reduce leftover medicines and unsafe medicine sharing practices.

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