Study looks at prevalence of sharing medications among women age 18 to 44

8/26/2008

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. Borrowing and sharing prescription medications is a common practice among women of reproductive age, according to a survey by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education in Oak Ridge, Tenn., published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

The survey questioned 7,500 women aged 18 to 44 and found that 43.8 percent reported borrowing or sharing allergy medications, while 42.6 percent reported sharing pain medications. The overall survey questioned 25,000 men and women.

The authors of the survey report detailed the risks that using another person’s prescription drugs can create, including side effects, complications of incorrect use, interactions with other drugs, antibiotic resistance and addiction. They also discussed some of the potential effects on unborn fetuses.

“This study confirms what many healthcare providers suspect,” said Susan Kornstein, editor-in-chief of the journal and executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, in Richmond, Va. “It is clear that patients need to be counseled about the potential risks of sharing and borrowing medications, especially if they are women of reproductive age.”

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