Many patients have trouble identifying meds
A new study published in Health Communication: International Perspectives found that patients who identify their blood pressure medications by shape, size and color instead of by name may be at risk for poor blood pressure control and a higher risk of hospitalization.
The researchers interviewed a group of patients over age 50 and with high blood pressure to evaluate their knowledge of drug names and dosages or their pills' visual characteristics. They also tested their health literacy and asked them about recent hospitalizations or visits to the emergency room.
Patients who were dependent on visual identification of their prescription medicine reported worse adherence in taking their pills. In addition, they had significantly lower rates of blood pressure control and greater risk of hospitalization.
According to lead author Jennifer L. Lenahan, patients, in general, had trouble correctly naming their medications, and this ability correlated with levels of health literacy. This study is the first to link patients’ knowledge of their medication names to blood pressure control and hospital visits.