Patients' perceptions of conflicting information on chronic medications: a prospective survey in Switzerland

Beatriz Santos, Katherine S. Blondon, Elisabeth Van Gessel, Bernard Cerutti, Claudine Backes, Sophie Locher, Bertrand Guignard, Pascal Bonnabry, Delesha Carpenter, Marie P. Schneider*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The number of patients with chronic diseases and subsequent visits to various healthcare professionals has been rising over the past decades, exposing patients to potential risks of receiving conflicting medication information. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of conflicting information on medications perceived by chronic patients in Switzerland and to understand its impact on patients' medication self-management and navigation in the healthcare system. PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional study included adult patients taking at least one prescribed medication for at least 6 months, who had visited at least two physicians in the past 3 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Data on patients' perceptions of conflicting information were collected in person through a 17-item questionnaire available on paper and electronically with four domains: (1) whether the patient had perceived any conflicting information, (2) categories of conflicting information, (3) impact and (4) sources involved in the conflicting information. RESULTS: Of the 405 included patients, 47% perceived conflicting information related to one or more medication topics including indication, schedule, dosage, risk, severity or duration of side effects. Patients who perceived conflicting information were prescribed more drugs than those perceiving no conflicting information (p<0.01). Consequently, 65% of the participants modified their navigation of the healthcare system and 34% reported medication non-adherence. General practitioners (82%), specialist physicians (74%) and pharmacists (49%) were the healthcare professionals most often involved in conflicting information. Experience with the medication, its package insert and significant others were more frequently involved in conflicting information than internet or social media. CONCLUSION: Nearly half the patients in our study perceived conflicting information in the outpatient healthcare system, which can decrease medication effectiveness and pose safety issues. This issue is widely overlooked and unaddressed. Consistency of information among healthcare providers in partnership with patients should be reinforced through guidelines and new models of interprofessional care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere060083
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • GENERAL MEDICINE (see Internal Medicine)
  • Health & safety
  • Quality in health care


Dive into the research topics of 'Patients' perceptions of conflicting information on chronic medications: a prospective survey in Switzerland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this