Prescription medication borrowing and sharing is a behaviour
that has been identified in patients of all ages. This behaviour
is recognised by medical researchers and government health
authorities as a potential risk factor in adverse drug events across
This article discusses prescription medication borrowing and sharing
and identifies populations more likely to participate in this behaviour.
It also focuses on the classes of drugs identified in the research
literature as those being more likely to be borrowed or shared.
Prescription medication borrowing and sharing behaviours have
been associated with several risk factors such as polypharmacy
and multiple chronic comorbidities. General practitioners and health
professionals are therefore encouraged to counsel patients, at the
time of issuing prescriptions and following discharge from hospital,
on the risks of borrowing and sharing prescription medications and
the safe disposal of ‘left over’ prescription medications.
Prescription medication borrowing and sharing (PMBS) is a patient behaviour that negatively affects patient quality use of medicine.1 This behaviour is recognised by medical practitioners, researchers and government health authorities as a risk factor in medication errors which results in adverse drug events (ADEs).2–4 Despite this, many studies examining the risk factors for ADEs do not directly examine PM BS behaviour. Any evidence reported usually categorises PM BS under the umbrella terms ‘medication error’2,4 or ‘medication misadventure’;5 or may be referred to obliquely as ‘use of inappropriate medicine’.4 The danger with this is that there is a risk of underestimating the impact of this behaviour on the incidence of ADEs.
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