Managing multiple morbidity in mid-life: a qualitative study of attitudes to drug use

Townsend, A., Hunt, K. and Wyke, S. (2003) Managing multiple morbidity in mid-life: a qualitative study of attitudes to drug use. British Medical Journal, 327(7419), p. 837. (doi: 10.1136/bmj.327.7419.837)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7419.837

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine attitudes towards drug use among middle aged respondents with high levels of chronic morbidity. DESIGN: Qualitative study with detailed interviews. SETTING: West of Scotland. PARTICIPANTS: 23 men and women aged about 50 years with four or more chronic illnesses. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Participants' feelings about long term use of drugs to manage chronic multiple morbidity. RESULTS: Drugs occupied a central place in the way people managed their comorbidities. Respondents expressed an aversion to taking drugs, despite acknowledging that they depended on drugs to live as "normal" a life as possible. Respondents expressed ambivalence to their drugs in various ways. Firstly, they adopted both regular and more flexible regimens and might adhere to a regular regimen in treating one condition (such as hypertension) while adopting a flexible regimen in relation to others, in response to their experience of symptoms or varying demands of their daily life. Secondly, they expressed reluctance to take drugs, but an inability to be free of them. Thirdly, drugs both facilitated performance of social roles and served as evidence of an inability to perform such roles. CONCLUSIONS: Insight into the considerable tension experienced by people managing complex drug regimens to manage multiple chronic illness may help medical carers to support self care practices among patients and to optimise concordance in their use of prescribed drugs.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wyke, Professor Sally and Hunt, Professor Kathryn
Authors: Townsend, A., Hunt, K., and Wyke, S.
Subjects:R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Social Sciences
Journal Name:British Medical Journal
Journal Abbr.:BMJ
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0959-535X
ISSN (Online):1756-1833
Copyright Holders:BMJ Publishing Group
First Published:First published in BMJ; 327: 7419
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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