Living with multiple medicines research project


People are taking more medicines. The Medicines Census of people over 50 years found that 43.3% used 5 or more medicines and 10.7% used 10 or more. Use of multiple (6 or more) medicines has doubled since 1995, with even greater increases seen in people aged 85 and older. Irrespective of the underlying health issues, people taking multiple medicines face a number of challenges including having an increased likelihood of experiencing adverse medicines events, being non-adherent and being exposed to inappropriate medicines. Thus taking multiple medicines can be fraught for those who are managing these often complex regimes and multiple health conditions in their day-to-day lives.
There is a conspicuous lack of information from the consumer perspective about ‘what it’s like’ to manage multiple medicines, and what works or doesn’t work.


This project seeks to understand how Australians experience and manage multiple medicines. Of particular interest are those who have found using multiple medicines to be problematic and have discovered solutions to these problems.
Research findings will provide a sound basis for a consumer website to provide information about what users of multiple medicines have experienced, how they have lived with multiple medicines and conditions and how they have overcome any associated difficulties.

Design / Method

This qualitative study will use narrative, face-to-face video interviews based on the methods devised by Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) at the Department of Primary Health Care, Oxford University. A purposive sample will be recruited that comprises up to 50 adults who currently take 5 or more medicines (prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines). They will also have experienced, or are currently experiencing, difficulties using multiple medicines.

Current status

This project commenced in 2012 and is currently in the field.

Related information and links

British website health talk online: