Background Type 2 diabetes is highly prevalent among people of Pakistani background. Studies show that adherence to medicines is complicated for people with type 2 diabetes in general. Also, studies indicate that many people with type 2 diabetes and Muslim background fast during the month of Ramadan without adequate counselling on how to adjust their medicines. Objective To explore patient perspectives on medicine use during Ramadan, reasons for fasting and experiences with counselling on medicine use during Ramadan among people of Pakistani background with type 2 diabetes and at least one other chronic condition. Setting Greater Copenhagen, Denmark. Method The analysis is based on a study exploring lived experiences with counselling on medicines using semi-structured interviews and medication reviews. The analysis presented here builds on the subset of patients with Pakistani background (six interviewers). Results All interviewees pointed out that Islam allows ill people to refrain from fasting during Ramadan. However, all had fasted during Ramadan despite being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. While fasting, they adapted their use of medicines in different ways, e.g. by changing the time of intake or by skipping morning medicines. Fasting during Ramadan meant a feeling of improvement in well-being for all interviewees. Reasons for this improvement included physiological, social and religious aspects. Healthcare professionals were rarely included in the decision-making process on whether or not to fast. Instead, friends and relatives, especially those with type 2 diabetes, were considered important to the decision-making process. Conclusion For people with Muslim background and a chronic condition, fasting during Ramadan may mean changes in medicine use that are not always discussed with healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals should acknowledge that Muslim patients may find fasting during Ramadan beneficial to their well-being and therefore choose to fast despite the Islamic rule of exemption. This patient-centred approach to counselling on medicines may facilitate better medicine use and thus better clinical health outcomes among patients that choose to fast.
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 2013, Vol 35, Issue 2, p. 281-8