Artūras Lukaševičius, Raimondas Kubilius, Gvidas Urbonas, Loreta Kubilienė


The main objective of the study was to explore home medicines cabinet contents and to estimate the effect of different household characteristics on the structure of the cabinet. The study was conducted in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where a total of 148 households allowed for making inventory of their medicines cabinets. The results revealed that the average value of a home medicines cabinet was 70.1 EUR with the average price of 4.3 EUR for one drug package. The medicines cabinet of each household consisted of 16.2 drug packages on the average. There was no household that had no medicines; however, 10.8% of the households kept only non-prescription medicines. The ratio between prescription and non-prescription medicines was 1:2.4. The most popular medicines in the home medicines cabinets were for the treatment of respiratory system (24.6%), alimentary tract and metabolism (14.6%), nervous system (13.9%), and musculo-skeletal system (13.8%). At least one package of the medicines mentioned above was found in at least 8 households out of 10. The price of the whole medicines cabinet, also the value of prescription medicines of the households with at least one retired person or a person with chronic disease was significantly higher as compared to other families. Also households with at least one retired person were more likely to keep drugs for the treatment of blood and blood forming organs (OR = 9.2, 95% CI 3.9-21.6, P < 0.001), or cardiovascular system (OR = 6.0, 95% CI 1.3-28.4, P < 0.05) in their medicines cabinet. Households with at least one person with chronic disease had increased risk to top up their medicines cabinet with drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular system (OR = 5.6, 95% CI 2.2-14.4, P < 0.001), sensory organs (OR = 3.2, 95% CI 1.5-6.6, P < 0.01), or systemic hormonal preparations (OR = 6.6, 95% CI 1.4-32.4, P < 0.05). Effective prevention of chronic diseases with higher involvement of community pharmacists in prevention programs, therefore, is seen not only as a means to reduce total costs of health care, but also to reduce household expenditures for medicines.

Keyword(s): home medicines cabinet; precription medicines; over-the-counter medicines; self medication
DOI: 10.5200/sm-hs.2015.046
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