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Publication date: 
October 22, 2015


Chronic diseases and their risk factors are believed to be common in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Most of them require long-term management through medications. We examined patterns of medication use for chronic health conditions (CHC) in KSA based on a national survey.


The Saudi Health Interview Survey was a cross-sectional nationally representative household survey of 10,735 individuals aged 15 years or older in 2013. The survey consisted of a detailed health questionnaire. Current medications for CHC were assessed and classified based on the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification.


Among the respondents, 11.8% (standard error = 0.4) reported taking at least one medication for CHC with a mean number of 2.05 (standard error = 0.05) medication items. In addition to older age (odds ratio = 1.94 per each decade, 95%CI: 1.83-2.05) and male gender (odds ratio = 1.22, 95%CI: 1.06-1.41), those with higher income were more likely to take medication. The most common medicines were drugs used for diabetes (A10 Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical code). The top 20 drugs accounted for about 80% of all medications. Only 32.7% of medications were reported to be used exactly as prescribed.


Compared with the prevalence of CHC in KSA, our study indicates a potential underuse of medications as well as non-adherence to the directions for use. Interventions such as improved clinical guidelines for healthcare providers to increase utilization of necessary medication and educational programs to improve patients' adherence are needed.


Moradi-Lakeh M, El Bcheraoui C, Daoud F, Tuffaha M, Wilson S, Al Saeedi M, Basulaiman M, Memish ZA, AlMazroa MA, AlRabeeah AA, Stergachis A, Mokdad AH. Medication use for chronic health conditions among adults in Saudi Arabia: findings from a national household survey. Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety. 2015 Oct 22. doi: 10.1002/pds.3904.