Many Adolescents Share Prescription Medication

Around three-quarters of those who borrow do so instead of seeing a health care provider

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- One-fifth of U.S. adolescents report sharing prescription medication, and efforts to reduce this practice may be justified, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Richard C. Goldsworthy, Ph.D., of the Academic Edge Inc. in Bloomington, Ind., and Christopher B. Mayhorn, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, interviewed 592 adolescents aged 12 to 17 years in malls, parks and public streets in 11 urban and suburban locations in the United States.

The researchers found that 20.5 percent of participants reported loaning prescription medication and 19.4 percent reported borrowing prescription medication. Allergy medications and pain relievers were most commonly loaned. Among loaners, 47.5 percent said they provided printed instructions and 55.7 percent said they provided verbal instructions. Half of borrowers said they had received instructions or warnings at least once. In addition, 74 percent of the borrowers said they borrowed medication instead of seeing a health care provider, and 37.4 percent of borrowers experienced a side effect.

"Efforts to reduce the prevalence and consequences of adolescent medication sharing may be justified, including training providers to ask specifically about borrowed medication and educating patients about proper use of prescriptions and risks of sharing," the authors conclude.

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Andrea Mongler

Andrea Mongler

Published on August 12, 2009

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