Journal Article

Patient Knowledge and Attitudes about Antiviral Medication and Vaccination for Influenza in an Internal Medicine Clinic

Michael A. Gaglia, Robert L. Cook, Kevin L. Kraemer and Michael B. Rothberg

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 45, issue 9, pages 1182-1188
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/522192
Patient Knowledge and Attitudes about Antiviral Medication and Vaccination for Influenza in an Internal Medicine Clinic

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Background. Despite the introduction of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for their use, antiviral medications for influenza remain underutilized. Our objective in this study was to describe beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge regarding antiviral medication and vaccination for influenza among patients in an internal medicine clinic.

Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of adult patients in an internal medicine clinic from April through June 2006.

Results. Two-hundred eighty patients completed the survey. Fifty-five percent received influenza vaccination for the most recent influenza season. Overall antiviral knowledge was poor. Of 8 antiviral knowledge questions, the mean percentage of correct answers was 40%; 1 (<1%) of the patients answered all questions correctly, and 47 (18%) answered all questions incorrectly. Only 37 (13%) of the patients reported calling their physician within 48 h after the onset of influenza-like symptoms. Patients with conditions associated with a high risk of complications from influenza were no more likely than other patients to be more knowledgeable about antiviral medication, nor were they more likely to report calling their physician within 48 h after symptom onset or to report receipt of influenza vaccination for the previous influenza season. Only 90 (37%) of the respondents were willing to pay >$20 for antiviral medication, although 205 (84%) were willing to pay something.

Conclusions. Patients are ill-informed about antiviral medication and its benefits, and medication costs may present a barrier to treatment. Physicians should discuss antiviral medication with patients who are at high risk for complications from influenza before the influenza season, and education programs for physicians and patients should be developed.

Journal Article.  4119 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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