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Somatic complaints and refrain from buying prescribed medications. Results from a cross-sectional study on people 60 years and older living in Kaunas (Lithuania)

Aurima Stankuniene1*, Mindaugas Stankunas23, Joaquim JF Soares4, Mark Avery2, M Gabriella Melchiorre5, Francisco Torres-Gonzalez6, Raimondas Radziunas1, Algirdas Baranauskas1 and Jutta Lindert78

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Social Pharmacy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, A. Mickeviciaus 9, Kaunas LT 44307, Lithuania

2 School of Public Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, 4222, Australia

3 Department of Health Management, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, A. Mickeviciaus 9, Kaunas, LT 44307, Lithuania

4 Institution for Health Sciences, Department of Public Health Science, Mid Sweden University, Holmgatan 10, Humlegården, Hus M, 851 70, Sundsvall, Sweden

5 Scientific Technological Area, Socio Economic Research Centre, Italian National Institute of Health and Science on Aging (INRCA), Via Santa Margherita, 5, 3 piano, Ancona, 60124, Italy

6 Centro de Investigación Biomedica en Red de Salud Mental CIBERSAM-Granada University, Av Madrid, 11, Granada, PC:18071, Spain

7 Department of Public Health, Protestant University of Applied Sciences, Paulusweg 6, Ludwigsburg, 71638, Germany

8 Department of Psychology and Sociology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

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DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 2012, 20:78  doi:10.1186/2008-2231-20-78

Published: 20 November 2012



The use of medicines by elderly people is a growing area of concern in social pharmacy. A significant proportion of older people do not follow the recommendations from physicians and refrain from buying prescribed medications. The aim of this study is to evaluate associations between self-rated health, somatic complaints and refraining from buying prescribed medications by elderly people.


Data was collected in a cross-sectional study in 2009. We received 624 completed questionnaires (response rate – 48.9%) from persons aged 60–84 years living in Kaunas (Lithuania). Somatic complaints were measured with the 24 item version of the Giessen Complaint List (GBB-24). Logistic regression (Enter model) was used for evaluation of the associations between refraining from buying medications and somatic complaints. These associations were measured using odds ratio (OR) and calculating the 95% confidence interval (CI).

The mean scores in total for the GBB scale and sub-scales (exhaustion, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular) were lowest among respondents who did not refrain from buying prescribed medications (means for GBB-24 scale: 21.04 vs. 24.82; p=0.001). Logistic regression suggests that somatic complaints were associated with a increased risk of refraining from buying prescribed medications (OR=1.35, 95% CI=1.15-1.60).


Somatic complaints were significantly associated with the decision to refrain from buying prescribed medications.

Use of medication; Somatic complaints; Self-rated health; Elderly; Accessibility; Non-adherence; Lithuania