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Knowledge and attitudes of patients in primary care on off-label treatment

Mario Ćurković, Dražen Gorjanski
International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 2018, 29 (3-4): 181-192

OBJECTIVE: To examine primary care patients' knowledge and attitudes on off-label treatment.

METHODS: In 47 primary care offices in Osijek-Baranja County, 1300 patients were given questionnaires about their knowledge and attitudes on off-label treatment. Questionnaires were completed voluntarily and anonymously.

RESULTS: Majority of patients (96.3%) had no knowledge about off-label treatment, and upon having it explained, 42.3% would not accept such treatment under any circumstances, while 54.5% would never accept such treatment for their children. Patients place more trust in primary care doctors than in hospital doctors; 69.6% of patients strongly believe that primary care doctors would not expose them to off-label treatment while only 41.2% of them think the same in relation to hospital doctors. In case of serious consequences following off-label therapy 49.9% of patients would sue doctors who prescribed it.

CONCLUSION: Patients in primary care possess limited knowledge about off-label treatment. Most patients do not wish to be exposed to such treatment, and are particularly reluctant to have their children exposed to it. In case of serious side effects, half of the patients would sue doctors who had prescribed the off-label therapy.


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