Background. Potentially inappropriate drug use, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications, is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. It also contributes to unnecessary expenditure on health services. This survey was undertaken to investigate the incidence of drug misuse and associated socioeconomic/ demographic characteristics in Irbid, Jordan.
Design and Methods. The present cross section study was conducted using a validated 5-point Likert scale questionnaire to be self-reported by 480 outpatients visiting clinics in three major medical centres in Irbid, Jordan between 20th October 2015 and 27th November 2015. Descriptive analysis, chi-square tests and ordinal logistic regression models were performed.
Results. Patients demonstrated distinctive attitudes towards medication misuse (P<0.001). Whereas around 40% of patients sometimes stopped taking medications earlier than prescribed or doubled the dose in case of missing a dose, three quarters and two fifth of participants neither used expired drugs nor continued to take a drug when adverse drug reactions occurred, respectively. Also, there were significant associations (P<0.05) between patients’ attitudes towards misusing medications and characteristics like age, gender, income and marital status. For instance, senior patients (>45 years) tended to double a medication’s dose in case of no improvement, and to use others’ leftover drugs without medical supervision. Further, male and female patients exhibited different attitude towards misusing medications. Unemployment and little earnings increased the risk for not using drugs properly. Furthermore, married patients were less likely to misuse medications. In particular, the educational level of patients was found to play a major role in modifying patients’ attitudes towards potentially inappropriate drug use. Patients holding one or more university degrees were at lower risk for using medications inappropriately.
Conclusions. This survey indicated that northern Jordanians inappropriately used medications to a great extent, suggesting that the current policies should be revised, and emphasising the importance of running public antidrug misuse awareness campaigns and establishing advanced educational/training events targeting healthcare professionals.
Drug misuse; questionnaire; Likert; attitude; Jordan