Article Text

Medication-related burden and patients’ lived experience with medicine: a systematic review and metasynthesis of qualitative studies
  1. Mohammed A Mohammed,
  2. Rebekah J Moles,
  3. Timothy F Chen
  1. Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Mohammed A Mohammed; mmoh2116{at}


Objective To explore medication-related burden (MRB) and patients’ lived experience with medicines (PLEM) without regard to particular medication therapies or medical conditions.

Design Systematic review and metasynthesis of qualitative studies.

Data sources MEDLINE, EMBASE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, PsycINFO, Global health, CINAHL and Web of Science were searched from January 2000 to August 2014 using medication burden and patients’ lived experience terms.

Synthesis methods Synthesis was undertaken following metaethnography methods and a comparative thematic analysis technique.

Results 34 articles from 12 countries with a total of 1144 participants were included. 3 major inter-related themes emerged central to PLEM: MRB, medication related beliefs and medication taking practice. The negative impact of MRB, due to its interference on patients’ daily lives and effects on well-being, its influence on patients’ beliefs and behaviours, and a potential risk for drug-related problems (DRPs) was evident. This resulted in non-adherence and poorer outcomes (unachieved therapeutic goals and damage to patients’ health). Patients who experienced MRB interference in their life over time begin to juggle their medicines. Others continue their medicines despite experiencing MRB resulting in compromised physical, social or psychological well-being.

Conclusions There is a shared commonality of PLEM among the studies. MRB plays a central role in influencing patients’ health and well-being, beliefs and behaviour towards medicines. Given the complexity of MRB and its impact evident from this review, there is a need for healthcare practitioners to have insight into PLEM in therapeutic care plans. Understanding PLEM is an opportunity for practitioners to identify particular MRBs that patients encounter, and provide individualised care through selection of therapeutic care plans that suit a patient's life. This may assist in helping to achieve patients’ medication-related needs, and improve medication therapy and health outcomes.

  • GENERAL MEDICINE (see Internal Medicine)

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