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OBJECTIVE: To explore British Pakistani and British Indian patients' perceptions and experiences of taking oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHAs). DESIGN: Observational cross sectional study using in-depth interviews in English or Punjabi. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: 32 patients of Pakistani and Indian origin with type 2 diabetes, recruited from primary care and community sources in Edinburgh, Scotland. RESULTS: Respondents reported complex and ambivalent views about OHAs, which reflected their ambivalent attitudes towards Western drugs in general. Respondents considered OHAs to be an important part of the diabetic regimen because they perceived British healthcare professionals to be competent and trustworthy prescribers, and they considered the medicines available in Britain to be superior to those on the Indian subcontinent. Despite this, some respondents made deliberate efforts to reduce their tablet intake without being advised to do so. Reasons for this included perceptions that drugs worked by providing relief of symptoms and concerns that OHAs could be detrimental to health if taken for long periods, in conjunction with other drugs, or without traditional foods. CONCLUSIONS: British Pakistani and Indian patients' perceptions of their OHAs may partly derive from popular ideas about drugs on the Indian subcontinent. Cultural factors need to be understood and taken into consideration to ensure that these patients are given appropriate advice and to avoid unnecessary changes to prescriptions.

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Journal article



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Adult, Aged, Attitude to Health, Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Diet, Diabetic, Female, Humans, Hypoglycemic Agents, India, Male, Middle Aged, Pakistan, Perception, Scotland