Doctors Say Too Many Patients Can't Name The Drugs They Take

Too many patients don’t remember the names of the medications they’re on, posing problems for doctors who are trying to treat them, warn researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. About 40% of the patients surveyed “could not accurately recall what drugs they were taking,” and among those with “low health literacy,” the rate jumped to 60%.

The patients in the study were selected from three community health centers in Michigan and were all taking high blood pressure medications. The average age was 55.

The author of the study suggests that patients bring their prescription bottles with them if they visit a hospital, and carry the name and number of their pharmacy so that any questions can be quickly answered. We think these tips are especially important for the elderly, which is why we’re going to make our grandmother a “pill vest” for Christmas with three dozen little pockets on it for all her prescriptions. (Hi, grandma!)

He also suggests that generic drugs be given simple, easy-to-remember and easy-to-pronounce names just like name brand drugs, since many people have trouble with the multi-syllable chemical names they’re usually sold under. Do any health professionals on the site know whether there are legal issues preventing this?

“Name that drug: Many patients can’t” [Reuters]
(Photo: Getty)