Difficulties in swallowing oral medications in Jordan
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Background Difficulties swallowing oral medications can affect patient compliance and consequently can compromise patient health. Objective To investigate the prevalence of difficulties in swallowing oral medications among a sample of the Jordanian population and the techniques used to overcome such difficulties. Setting The study was carried out in outpatient pharmacies in the north of Jordan. Method Adult patients who were taking at least one solid oral dosage form for at least 1 month were interviewed using a questionnaire. The questionnaire included demographic details, current medication use, questions about swallowing difficulties, and patient strategies to overcome such difficulties. Main outcome measure The study measured the number of patients reporting difficulties in swallowing oral medications and the techniques used to overcome swallowing difficulties. Results In this study 1250 patients were interviewed and 130 patients reported that they experienced or were currently experiencing difficulties in swallowing oral medications (10.4%). In order to overcome swallowing difficulties, 112 patients (86.2%) stated that they drink more water while 22 patients (16.9%) stated that they cut or crush their solid dosage forms, and 13 patients stated that they open their capsules. Forty-five patients (34.6%) stated that they sometimes skip their doses due to swallowing difficulties. The majority of participants with swallowing difficulties did not discuss their difficulties with their physicians or pharmacists (85.4%). Conclusion Difficulties in swallowing oral medications is a problem that is encountered in Jordan. Techniques used to overcome swallowing difficulties such as crushing or opening capsules can compromise medication efficacy and negatively impact patient health outcomes. Non-compliance due to swallowing difficulties raises a major concern.
KeywordsJordan Medication modification Oral medications Pharmacy Prevalence Swallowing difficulties
The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Isabelle Arnet and Dr. Markus Messerli for their assistance and help.
This study was supported by a Grant from the Deanship of Scientific Research, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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