Assessment of markers of medication literacy in a US-Mexico border community

Jeri J Sias, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Each year an estimated 180,000 people in the United States (U.S.) die as a result of medication errors, now considered a major public health problem. If a patient cannot correctly act on information related to medication use or "Medication Literacy" there is an increased potential for error. Medication use issues are unique on the US-Mexico border because they include high rates of herbal products and medication products from Mexico as well as issues related to the preferred language (English or Spanish) of the patient. To evaluate the medication literacy in a US-Mexico border community, this retrospective study evaluates 180 subjects representing four diverse economic segments of a metropolitan US-Mexico Border community who have taken a Medication Literacy Assessment. The assessment tool has been created to understand how patients interpret medication information for prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, and Mexican medication product use, and how they problem-solve medication questions. The Medication Literacy Assessment tool specifically assesses document literacy (e.g., prescription labels), prose literacy (e.g., patient leaflets), numeracy (e.g., calculations and measurements) as well as qualitative data related to medication use practices. The main hypothesis of this study is that the ability to interpret and use medications will vary based on education, language (Spanish or English), and recruitment sites (economically diverse communities). The results will provide information to better characterize medication use in a primarily Hispanic population on the US-Mexico border and may be used to influence policy decisions regarding prescription and over-the-counter product information.

Subject Area

Pharmacy sciences|Public health

Recommended Citation

Sias, Jeri J, "Assessment of markers of medication literacy in a US-Mexico border community" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1463616.