Survey Shows Risks of Borrowed Medicine
One-Fourth of People Who Borrow Prescription Medicine Report Side Effects
WebMD News Archive
Borrowing Prescription Medicines: What's in Demand? continued...
Goldsworthy calls the loaning and borrowing of prescription medicines among
family and friends "altruistic borrowing" because the intent is good. Someone
may have run out of their prescribed medicine, or they may seem to have the
same symptoms as someone else.
He suspects that the respondents may have fudged the answers a bit. "In our
study there is probably a slight under-reporting of the rates of borrowing."
There is probably over-reporting, he says, of those who claimed to have
told their provider about sharing medicines.
As to why they borrowed medicines instead of going to the doctor,
Goldsworthy suspects it is more of a time issue than a money issue.
''This study simply reaffirms that people are sharing these medications and
aren't terribly worried about this, but should be," Goldsworthy tells
''They should consider this as a behavior that could cause problems," he
says, with harm ranging from incorrectly diagnosing yourself to developing
antibiotic resistance later.
provided to specific people for a specific purpose at a specific dose over a
specific course of treatment," he says." If you mess with any of those things
you are not being correctly treated for whatever your malady is, even if you
manage to diagnose yourself correctly."
The research puts some specific numbers to a problem that is widely known,
says Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health
Association, who is familiar with the new study and is a former practicing
''For me, the surprise was the high percent of people who report side
effects," he tells WebMD. "It's not surprising they are there, but 25% is a big
Of medication borrowers, Benjamin says: "I don't think they realize the risk
involved. People need to know the risk involved. You may not know the dose you
are getting. You don't know how old the medicine is."