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A New Look at the Awareness and Use of Personal Medication Records: Five Years Later

Since 2005, both awareness and use of personal medication records (PMRs) have remained relatively low among U.S. adults 45 and older, with only about one-quarter aware of PMRs and slightly more than one-half of those actually using them. However, those who have a PMR carry it more often (59%) than in 2005 (46%), suggesting an increase in commitment about having it with them.  PMR usage is directly related to the number of prescription drugs taken by an individual.

This survey uses similar questions to a 2005 AARP survey and compares awareness and usage of PMRs in order to determine the extent to which these measures have changed over time.

Key Findings:

  • Slightly more than one-quarter of respondents have heard of a personal medication record (PMR), and among those who had heard of one, more than half said they have one.
  • Roughly  six (59%) in ten PMR “owners” in the 2010 study always carry a PMR compared to slightly less than half (46%) in the 2005 study.
  • Nearly four in ten (36%) of PMR “owners” don’t carry it with them because they believe they don’t need it or it’s not necessary.
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents reported taking between one and three over-the-counter medications (including vitamins and supplements) on a regular basis. Thirteen percent said they take four or five, and one in ten (10%) said they take six or more over-the-counter medications regularly.
  • Slightly more than one-third (36%) of respondents take between one and three prescription drugs on a regular basis. Fifteen percent take four or five, while one-fifth (20%) take six or more prescription medications regularly.

This telephone survey of 1,077 adults ages 45 and older was conducted for AARP by SSRS from June 16-27, 2010.  For more information about this research, please contact Teresa A. Keenan, Ph.D., at 202-434-6274.

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