International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 65–71 | Cite as

Perceived medication use challenges and coping strategies among medical outpatients in Nigeria

  • Kazeem B. YusuffEmail author
Research Article


Background The use of medicines is an action that involves a change in behaviour and it is a complex construct involving reciprocal interactions between social, environmental and cognitive factors. This is particularly true when a patient uses medicines for asymptomatic chronic conditions, requiring life-long use. Objective To identify patient-perceived medication use challenges, determine the coping strategies used and investigate the relationship between patient-perceived challenges and self-initiation of coping strategies. Setting A premier 900-bed tertiary/teaching hospital located in Ibadan, Nigeria. Method Ten pharmacists conducted cross-sectional medication use interviews for a random sample of 324 medical outpatients in 4 weeks (25th October–19th November 2006). Main outcome measure Patient-perceived challenges with prescribed medications, self-initiated coping strategies used and relationship between patient-perceived challenges and self-initiation of coping strategies Results Eighty-one percent (324) of the random sample of 400 patients consented and completed the interview. Of these, 50.3 % were males while 49.7 % were females with mean age (SD) of 51.5 (17.6) and 52.1 (17.4) years respectively. The most frequent diagnoses were hypertension (53 %) and type-2 diabetes + hypertension (14.5 %). Two hundred and twenty-four patients reported one or more perceived challenges. Of these, 43.8 % were 65 years or older and about half reported at least 3 challenges. The majority (95.6 %) of patients who reported perceived challenges initiated one or more coping strategies without the knowledge of their physicians or pharmacists. Of 100 patients who did not report any perceived challenge, 43 % admitted initiating strategies to maintain perceived “cure” of their medical conditions. Self-initiation and use of coping strategies was far more likely among patients who reported perceived challenges (OR: 28.4, 95 % CI 26.1–30.5). The number of coping strategies reported appeared strongly related to the number of perceived challenges (r = 0.91, p < 0.001). Conclusion Perceived challenges associated with the use of prescribed medications and self-initiation of coping strategies appeared considerable among medical outpatients at a major teaching hospital in Nigeria. The risk of unauthorised initiation and use of varieties of coping strategies without the knowledge of clinicians was very high among patients who reported at least one perceived challenge.


Coping strategies Medical outpatients Nigeria Perceived medication use-challenges 



I acknowledge the guidance & support of Prof. Fola Tayo, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria. I also thank Mrs. B. Alao and the Master of Pharmacy students (02/03 set) for their contributions toward the successful conduct of the study. I am indebted to Dr Roy Jobson of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Rhodes University, South Africa for his editorial assistance.



Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Clinical PharmacyKing Faisal UniversityAl-AhsaKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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