Most Patients Lack Medication List, Don't Know Your Name

Despite the fact that it can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation, most patients do not carry a list of medications they are taking, according to a recent poll commissioned by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and conducted by Harris Interactive. The survey, aimed at revealing patients' interactions with, and attitudes toward, pharmacists, is part of APhA's "Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist" public education campaign efforts for American Pharmacists Month.

"One of the most important things consumers can do to take an active role in their health care is carry a current medication list," said APhA national spokesperson and pharmacist, Kristen Binaso. "Until electronic medical records are the standard and can be shared across providers, consumers should be sharing their list with all of their health care providers to minimize the risk of improper dosing, duplicating medications, and harmful drug interactions and side effects."

A large number of respondents stated that they have an up-to-date list of their medications, but only 28% said they carry the list with them at all times. Of those who did not have an up-to-date list, 49% said they never thought about it and 36% said they have no need or desire to carry it with them. In terms of sex, women are more likely to carry a list than men, with the results showing 31% and 24%, respectively. In addition, older patients were more likely to carry a list than younger individuals.

All patients should carry an up-to-date list of not only prescription medications, but also any OTCs, vitamins, and herbal products they are taking, according to APhA recommendations. Names and dosage amounts of medications, as well as the conditions treated by the drugs and any known allergies, should be included on the list, the group stated.

Although pharmacists continue to be ranked second behind doctors as the most trusted source of medication information, patients' actions did not necessarily follow suit with that ranking, according to survey results. Seen as "troubling" by APhA, results showed that 77% of patients do not know their pharmacist's name and 60% have not asked their pharmacist health questions over the past year.

For more information on APhA's "Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist" campaign and for tips on celebrating American Pharmacists Month in your pharmacy, visit www.pharmacist.com/APhM.