The objective of this article was to explore the information needs of consumers using statins.
Calls made to a national medicines call centre in Australia were analysed. Where question narratives were available electronically (n = 1486), the main concerns were identified using a coding scheme. Subsequently, we evaluated whether these concerns were addressed in the medication leaflet.
The most common concerns were about side effects (36%) and interactions (28%). Concerns about side effects related to musculoskeletal (27%), gastrointestinal (12%) and skin problems (5%). Concerns about interactions included other medicines (49%), complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs; 39%) and grapefruit (6%). Additional questions related to differences between treatments (12%) and dosage (8%). Most topics were mentioned in the medication leaflet, but strategies to manage these concerns were lacking.
When prescribing statins, information about common side effects, when symptoms require action, and interactions with other medicines, especially CAMs, should be addressed and tailored to the patient.