How and why are non-prescription analgesics used in Scotland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. UK Government policy increasingly encourages self-care of minor illnesses, including self-medication. Analgesics constitute a quarter of UK over-the-counter medicines sales, but concerns have been expressed about their potential for inappropriate use.

Objectives. To estimate the prevalence of recent use of non-prescription analgesics in Scotland, to describe by whom they are used, and to estimate inappropriate use.

Method. A cross-sectional postal survey consisting of a self-completed questionnaire that collected data on respondents' use of non-prescription and prescription medicines, as well as demographic and lifestyle data. The sample comprised 2708 subjects of 18 years and over, randomly selected from the Scottish electoral roll.

Results. The response rate was 55% (n = 1501). Some 37% (555/1501) of respondents had used a non-prescription analgesic in the previous two weeks. Analgesics accounted for 59% (636/1081) of all non-prescription medicines used in that period. After controlling for all other variables, age, sex, level of education, self-reported health status, prescription exemption status, and use of prescription analgesics, remained significant predictors of non-prescription analgesic use. There was evidence of possible inappropriate use of non-prescription analgesics including use of multiple analgesics (n = 67), use by individuals self-reporting conditions associated with cautious use of certain analgesics (n = 51), and potential drug-drug interactions (n = 15). A few respondents appeared to be using non-prescription analgesics to supplement medical treatment of chronic conditions (n = 4).

Conclusions. Our findings have demonstrated a high level of use of non-prescription analgesics amongst the general public, with significant potential for inappropriate use. As we move towards a culture of increased self-management of minor illness, this demonstrated need for improved pharmacovigilance of non-prescribed medicines must be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Practice
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • analgesics
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • primary care
  • non-prescription drugs
  • DRUG-USE
  • ADULT-POPULATION
  • HEALTH
  • PRESCRIPTION
  • MEDICATION
  • FREQUENCY
  • SAMPLE
  • SWEDEN
  • IMPACT
  • CARE

Cite this

How and why are non-prescription analgesics used in Scotland. / Porteous, Terry Hall; Bond, Christine Margaret; Hannaford, Philip Christopher; Sinclair, Hazel Kathryn.

In: Family Practice, Vol. 22, 2005, p. 78-85.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{fcba3dbdee4e4deba16508dfdac8e654,
title = "How and why are non-prescription analgesics used in Scotland",
abstract = "Background. UK Government policy increasingly encourages self-care of minor illnesses, including self-medication. Analgesics constitute a quarter of UK over-the-counter medicines sales, but concerns have been expressed about their potential for inappropriate use.Objectives. To estimate the prevalence of recent use of non-prescription analgesics in Scotland, to describe by whom they are used, and to estimate inappropriate use.Method. A cross-sectional postal survey consisting of a self-completed questionnaire that collected data on respondents' use of non-prescription and prescription medicines, as well as demographic and lifestyle data. The sample comprised 2708 subjects of 18 years and over, randomly selected from the Scottish electoral roll.Results. The response rate was 55{\%} (n = 1501). Some 37{\%} (555/1501) of respondents had used a non-prescription analgesic in the previous two weeks. Analgesics accounted for 59{\%} (636/1081) of all non-prescription medicines used in that period. After controlling for all other variables, age, sex, level of education, self-reported health status, prescription exemption status, and use of prescription analgesics, remained significant predictors of non-prescription analgesic use. There was evidence of possible inappropriate use of non-prescription analgesics including use of multiple analgesics (n = 67), use by individuals self-reporting conditions associated with cautious use of certain analgesics (n = 51), and potential drug-drug interactions (n = 15). A few respondents appeared to be using non-prescription analgesics to supplement medical treatment of chronic conditions (n = 4).Conclusions. Our findings have demonstrated a high level of use of non-prescription analgesics amongst the general public, with significant potential for inappropriate use. As we move towards a culture of increased self-management of minor illness, this demonstrated need for improved pharmacovigilance of non-prescribed medicines must be addressed.",
keywords = "analgesics, pharmacoepidemiology, primary care, non-prescription drugs, DRUG-USE, ADULT-POPULATION, HEALTH, PRESCRIPTION, MEDICATION, FREQUENCY, SAMPLE, SWEDEN, IMPACT, CARE",
author = "Porteous, {Terry Hall} and Bond, {Christine Margaret} and Hannaford, {Philip Christopher} and Sinclair, {Hazel Kathryn}",
year = "2005",
doi = "10.1093/fampra/cmh719",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "78--85",
journal = "Family Practice",
issn = "0263-2136",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - How and why are non-prescription analgesics used in Scotland

AU - Porteous, Terry Hall

AU - Bond, Christine Margaret

AU - Hannaford, Philip Christopher

AU - Sinclair, Hazel Kathryn

PY - 2005

Y1 - 2005

N2 - Background. UK Government policy increasingly encourages self-care of minor illnesses, including self-medication. Analgesics constitute a quarter of UK over-the-counter medicines sales, but concerns have been expressed about their potential for inappropriate use.Objectives. To estimate the prevalence of recent use of non-prescription analgesics in Scotland, to describe by whom they are used, and to estimate inappropriate use.Method. A cross-sectional postal survey consisting of a self-completed questionnaire that collected data on respondents' use of non-prescription and prescription medicines, as well as demographic and lifestyle data. The sample comprised 2708 subjects of 18 years and over, randomly selected from the Scottish electoral roll.Results. The response rate was 55% (n = 1501). Some 37% (555/1501) of respondents had used a non-prescription analgesic in the previous two weeks. Analgesics accounted for 59% (636/1081) of all non-prescription medicines used in that period. After controlling for all other variables, age, sex, level of education, self-reported health status, prescription exemption status, and use of prescription analgesics, remained significant predictors of non-prescription analgesic use. There was evidence of possible inappropriate use of non-prescription analgesics including use of multiple analgesics (n = 67), use by individuals self-reporting conditions associated with cautious use of certain analgesics (n = 51), and potential drug-drug interactions (n = 15). A few respondents appeared to be using non-prescription analgesics to supplement medical treatment of chronic conditions (n = 4).Conclusions. Our findings have demonstrated a high level of use of non-prescription analgesics amongst the general public, with significant potential for inappropriate use. As we move towards a culture of increased self-management of minor illness, this demonstrated need for improved pharmacovigilance of non-prescribed medicines must be addressed.

AB - Background. UK Government policy increasingly encourages self-care of minor illnesses, including self-medication. Analgesics constitute a quarter of UK over-the-counter medicines sales, but concerns have been expressed about their potential for inappropriate use.Objectives. To estimate the prevalence of recent use of non-prescription analgesics in Scotland, to describe by whom they are used, and to estimate inappropriate use.Method. A cross-sectional postal survey consisting of a self-completed questionnaire that collected data on respondents' use of non-prescription and prescription medicines, as well as demographic and lifestyle data. The sample comprised 2708 subjects of 18 years and over, randomly selected from the Scottish electoral roll.Results. The response rate was 55% (n = 1501). Some 37% (555/1501) of respondents had used a non-prescription analgesic in the previous two weeks. Analgesics accounted for 59% (636/1081) of all non-prescription medicines used in that period. After controlling for all other variables, age, sex, level of education, self-reported health status, prescription exemption status, and use of prescription analgesics, remained significant predictors of non-prescription analgesic use. There was evidence of possible inappropriate use of non-prescription analgesics including use of multiple analgesics (n = 67), use by individuals self-reporting conditions associated with cautious use of certain analgesics (n = 51), and potential drug-drug interactions (n = 15). A few respondents appeared to be using non-prescription analgesics to supplement medical treatment of chronic conditions (n = 4).Conclusions. Our findings have demonstrated a high level of use of non-prescription analgesics amongst the general public, with significant potential for inappropriate use. As we move towards a culture of increased self-management of minor illness, this demonstrated need for improved pharmacovigilance of non-prescribed medicines must be addressed.

KW - analgesics

KW - pharmacoepidemiology

KW - primary care

KW - non-prescription drugs

KW - DRUG-USE

KW - ADULT-POPULATION

KW - HEALTH

KW - PRESCRIPTION

KW - MEDICATION

KW - FREQUENCY

KW - SAMPLE

KW - SWEDEN

KW - IMPACT

KW - CARE

U2 - 10.1093/fampra/cmh719

DO - 10.1093/fampra/cmh719

M3 - Article

VL - 22

SP - 78

EP - 85

JO - Family Practice

JF - Family Practice

SN - 0263-2136

ER -