Class inequalities in prescription drug use, the case of hormone replacement therapy

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Hosain, Yasmin A.
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Despite extensive research examining the relationship between social class and health, little is known about the role of social class in prescription drug use. This study examines social class inequalities in prescription drug use with a specific focus on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use among older women. Secondary analysis was conducted using data from the 1996-97 National Population Health Survey (NPHS) (n = 8759) (Statistics Canada, 1996-97). Crosstabs and a logistic regression analysis were utilized in order to determine the sociodemographic and health characteristics of women who use HRT as well as differences in use in terms of social class while controlling for sociodemographic and health characteristics. The results of the analysis indicated that just under one quarter (24.3%) of women between 45 to 64 years of age reported HRT use in the past month. Results of the bivariate analysis indicated that certain sociodemographic and health characteristics were found to be associated with HRT use, however, most were found to have only weak associations. Results of the multivariate analysis demonstrated that when examining social class and controlling for other va iables, income was found to have the strongest association with HRT use while education and labour force status were not significant. This study provides baseline prevalence rates of HRT use in Canada. Insights into the relationship between social class and users and nonusers of HRT are developed using the political economy of aging framework and directions for future research topics are presented.