Over-the-counter medicines, economic conditions, and citizens most in need in Greece: Is it a challenge for primary care research?
ABSTRACT: Introduction Recent austerity experiences in Greece suggest a plausible link between extensive use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and socio-economic peculiarities of life. Commentary During the economic crisis in Greece, accessibility to healthcare services has been impacted, particularly for people with low income. However, this fact has not been systematically analyzed in conjunction with an observed increase in use of OTC medicines. Gaining a better understanding of the reasons leading to self-care may help to answer additional questions. Further research is needed to assess the gap between self-care and medically assisted care/treatment by designing pilot monitoring actions and focusing on behaviours related to OTC medicine use. Primary care can offer more collaboration between primary care physicians, community pharmacists, patients, and their families. Implications It is crucial to create a multimodal research plan to gain a better understanding of motivational reasons that eventually lead to increasing use of OTC medicines. Efforts should be made to develop data collection techniques that will elicit information from various social groups that focus on changeable behaviours and perceived needs in relation to medicine consumption. Highlights • Self-care empowerment may be beyond citizens' free choice;• OTC medicine use shows traits of increasing;• Perceived needs and OTC medicine use remain unexplored;• Manuscript Header = Commentary
Project description:Over-the-counter (OTC) pharmacy medicines are considered relatively safe in contrast to prescribed and illicit substances, but their abuse and addiction potential is increasingly recognised. Those affected represent a hard to reach group, with little known about their experiences. Study objectives were to describe the experiences and views of those self-reporting OTC medicine abuse, and why medicines were taken, how they were obtained and associated treatment and support sought.Qualitative study using in-depth mainly telephone interviews.A purposive sample of 25 adults, aged 20-60s, 13 women.UK, via two internet support groups.Individuals considered themselves 'addicted', but socially and economically active and different from illicit substance misusers. They blamed themselves for losing control over their medicine use, which usually began for genuine medical reasons and not experimentation and was often linked to the cessation of, or ongoing, medical prescribing. Codeine, in compound analgesics, was the main medicine implicated with three distinct dose ranges emerging with decongestant and sedative antihistamine abuse also being reported. Subsequent use was for the 'buzz' or similar effects of the opiate, which was obtained unproblematically by having lists of pharmacies to visit and occasionally using internet suppliers. Perceived withdrawal symptoms were described for all three dose ranges, and work and health problems were reported with higher doses. Mixed views about different treatment and support options emerged with standard drug treatment services being considered inappropriate for OTC medicines and concerns that this 'hidden addiction' was recorded in medical notes. Most supported the continued availability of OTC medicines with appropriate addiction warnings.Greater awareness of the addiction potential of OTC medicines is needed for the public, pharmacists and medical prescribers, along with appropriate communication about, and reviews of, treatment and support options, for this distinct group.
Project description:Consumers are confident managing minor ailments through self-care, often self-medicating from a range of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines available from community pharmacies. To minimise risks, pharmacy personnel endeavour to engage in a consultation when consumers present with OTC enquiries however they find consumers resistant. The aim was to determine stakeholder perspectives regarding barriers and facilitators for information exchange during OTC consultations in community pharmacies and to understand the elicited themes in behavioural terms. Focus groups were undertaken with community pharmacist, pharmacy assistant and consumer participants. Independent duplicate analysis of transcription data was conducted using inductive and framework methods. Eight focus groups involving 60 participants were conducted. Themes that emerged indicated consumers did not understand pharmacists' professional role, they were less likely to exchange information if asking for a specific product than if asking about symptom treatment, and they wanted privacy. Consumers were confident to self-diagnose and did not understand OTC medicine risks. Pharmacy personnel felt a duty of care to ensure consumer safety, and that with experience communication skills developed to better engage consumers in consultations. They also identified the need for privacy. Consumers need education about community pharmacists' role and responsibilities to motivate them to engage in OTC consultations. They also require privacy when doing so.
Project description:In this commentary, we argue that Indigenous patients in the Northwest Territories (NWT) have a right to access traditional medicine and related practitioners as a part of the continuum of medical care. Indigenous people make up over half of the NWT population, spread over vast geographic areas with representation from First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) people. Ensuring barrier-free access to traditional medicine and providers in a culturally respectful environment is a challenge that requires structural transformation in the territorial health system. The ongoing transmission of knowledge about Indigenous traditional medicine in Northern Canada and the collective survival of Northern peoples is a testament to the applicability of traditional medicines in a self-determined wellness system. Through a discussion of the barriers to policy development and implementation, this commentary aims to elevate Indigenous perspectives and offer recommendations for integrating traditional medicines into Northern health systems.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Self-medication with over-the-counter medicines (OTCs) and prescription-only medicines (POMs) are both pervasive in China, although the latter is an inappropriate practice. We examined the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and self-medication with OTCs versus POMs. METHODS:Multivariate logistic regressions based on the Andersen framework were estimated using a subsample of respondents aged 45 years and over from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study collected between 2011 and 2013 (n=23?699). As dependent variables, we used OTC and POM consumption without a medical prescription. SES was operationalised by household income per capita and education. Control variables included health indicators, demographic characteristics, and health behaviours. RESULTS:In our study sample, 32.69% and 15.02% of people aged 45 years and over had self-medicated with OTCs and POMs in the 4 weeks before the survey, respectively. OTC use by income exhibited an inverse U shape. Respondents from middle income groups were more likely to self-medicate with OTCs compared with those from the lowest and highest income groups. In contrast, respondents from the lowest income group were more inclined to self-medicate with POMs. There was a clear trend towards more self-medication with OTCs, but not POMs, among those with higher educational attainment. CONCLUSION:People with low income tended to rely on self-medication with POMs for treatment, which is risky and of low quality. A health education programme for older people, particularly those living in low-income households, aimed at improving the quality of self-medication behaviour is warranted. Urgent measures are needed to address the issue of easy access to POMs at community pharmacies, and to improve access to formal medical care among the low-income population.
Project description:In Korea, there are two types of medical doctors: one practises conventional medicine (hereafter called a physician), and the other practises traditional medicine (hereafter called a Korean medical doctor). This study aimed to compare the provision of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by these providers to CAM use per self-judgement in Korea.We analysed 1668 Korean people via an internet survey with the Korean adopted version of the I-CAM-Q, namely, the International Questionnaire to measure use of CAM, to understand whether respondents used CAM based either on a prescription or advice from a physician or a Korean medical doctor or on self-judgement.In the previous 12 months, the proportions of respondents who were treated by a physician, who were treated by a Korean medical doctor and who were not treated by anyone were 67.9, 20.7 and 14.2%, respectively. Among the respondents who received CAM based on a prescription or advice from a physician, traditional Korean medicine practices and dietary supplements were commonly used; only a small percentage used other CAM therapies. Respondents who received CAM based on a prescription or advice from a Korean medical doctor showed similar results. Acupuncture and moxibustion, traditional Korean medicines (decoction), or cupping were more commonly used. Korean traditional medicines as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs were more commonly used by respondents who received CAM therapy based on a prescription or advice from a physician than by those who received CAM therapy based on a prescription or advice from a Korean medical doctor. A total of 74% of the responders used any CAM by self-judgement in the previous 12 months.For the use of CAM in Korea, in addition to the Korean traditional medical care provided by Korean medical doctors, general physicians advised people regarding Korean traditional medical care and dietary supplements.
Project description:To examine accounts of medication use in participants with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from symptom onset to early postdiagnosis.Qualitative study with in-depth, personal interviews.37 women and one man, aged 30-70s, with a diagnosis of RA <12 months.Participants' experiences and feelings of medication use in early RA.British Columbia, Canada.Medications were central to how people managed symptoms and disease. Two main themes were identified, showing that optimum medication use was hampered, and how this related to delayed diagnosis and effective care. The first theme, 'paradox of prediagnosis reliance on over the counter (OTC) medications', describes how people's self-management with OTC medications was 'effective'. Participants relied extensively on OTC medications for pain relief and to maintain 'normal life'. However, as this contributed to delayed medical consultation, diagnosis and effective treatment, OTC medication was also potentially detrimental to disease outcome. The second theme, 'ambivalence around prescription medications post diagnosis', describes how adherence was hindered by patient beliefs, priorities and ambivalence towards medications.This study highlights how people use medications in early RA and contributes to a better understanding of medication use that may transfer to other conditions. Given the drive towards active self-management in healthcare and patients' ambivalence about using strong medications, an in-depth understanding of how these combined factors impact patient experiences will help healthcare providers to support effective medication practices. The reported extensive reliance on OTC medications may speak to a care gap needing further investigation in the context of health behaviours and outcomes of patient self-management.
Project description:In China, Community Health Centers (CHCs) are major providers of primary care services, but their potential in empowering patients' self-management capacity has not been assessed. This study aims to describe self-care practice patterns amongst CHC attendees in urban China.In this cross-sectional quantitative study, 3360 CHC patients from 6 cities within the Pearl Delta Region were sampled using multistage cluster sampling.Thirty-seven per cent had used with over-the-counter Chinese herbal medicines (OTC CHMs) in the past year and majority of respondents found OTC CHMs effective. OTC CHMs were more popular amongst those who needed to pay out of pocket for CHC services. Less than 10% used vitamins and minerals, and those with a lower socioeconomic background have a higher propensity to consume. Although doubts on their usefulness are expressed, their use by the vulnerable population may reflect barriers to access to conventional health care, cultural affinity, or a defense against negative consequences of illnesses. About 25% performed physical exercise, but the prevalence is lower amongst women and older people. Taiji seems to be an alternative for these populations with promising effectiveness, but overall only 6% of CHC attendees participated.These results suggest that CHCs should start initiatives in fostering appropriate use of OTC CHM, vitamins, and minerals. Engaging community pharmacists in guiding safe and effective use of OTC CHM amongst the uninsured is essential given their low accessibility to CHC services. Prescription of Taiji instead of physical exercises to women and older people could be more culturally appropriate, and the possibility of including this as part of the CHC services worth further exploration.
Project description:BACKGROUND: A large proportion of cancer patients are estimated to use herbal medicines, but data to substantiate this are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of herbal medicine use among cancer patients in the West Midlands, and determine the characteristics predicting herbal medicine use. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of oncology patients (n=1498) being followed up at a hospital in Coventry was undertaken. Recipients were asked about herbal medicine use since their cancer diagnosis, and the association between sociodemographic and cancer-related characteristics and herbal medicine use was evaluated. RESULTS: A total of 1134 responses were received (75.7%). The prevalence of herbal medicine use was 19.7% (95% CI: 17.4-22.1; n=223). Users were more likely to be affluent, female, and aged under 50 years. Usage increased with time since cancer diagnosis (X(2) for trend=4.63; P=0.031). A validation data set, derived from a survey of oncology patients in Birmingham (n=541) with differing socioeconomic characteristics showed no significant difference in estimated prevalence (16.6%; 95% CI: 11.9-22.2). CONCLUSION: A substantial number of people with cancer are likely to be taking herbal medicines. Understanding the self-medication behaviours of these individuals is essential if health-care professionals are to support treatment adherence and avoid unwanted pharmacological interactions.
Project description:The availability alongside growing awareness of medicine has led to increased self-treatment of minor ailments. Self-medication is where one 'self' diagnoses and prescribes over the counter medicines for treatment. The self-care movement has important policy implications, perceived to relieve the National Health Service (NHS) burden, increasing patient subsistence and freeing resources for more serious ailments. However, there has been little research exploring how self-medication behaviours vary between population groups due to a lack of available data. The aim of our study is to evaluate how high street retailer loyalty card data can help inform our understanding of how individuals self-medicate in England. Transaction level loyalty card data was acquired from a national high street retailer for England for 2012-2014. We calculated the proportion of loyalty card customers (n ~ 10 million) within Lower Super Output Areas who purchased the following medicines: 'coughs and colds', 'Hayfever', 'pain relief' and 'sun preps'. Machine learning was used to explore how 50 sociodemographic and health accessibility features were associated towards explaining purchasing of each product group. Random Forests are used as a baseline and Gradient Boosting as our final model. Our results showed that pain relief was the most common medicine purchased. There was little difference in purchasing behaviours by sex other than for sun preps. The gradient boosting models demonstrated that socioeconomic status of areas, as well as air pollution, were important predictors of each medicine. Our study adds to the self-medication literature through demonstrating the usefulness of loyalty card records for producing insights about how self-medication varies at the national level. Big data offer novel insights that add to and address issues that traditional studies are unable to consider. New forms of data through data linkage may offer opportunities to improve current public health decision making surrounding at risk population groups within self-medication behaviours.
Project description:Given the overall safety profile and increasing availability of medical pregnancy termination drugs, we asked: would the mifepristone-misoprostol regimen for medical termination at ?10 weeks of gestation meet US Food and Drug Administration regulatory criteria for over-the-counter (OTC) approval, and if not, what are the present research gaps? We conducted a literature review of consumer behaviours necessary for a successful OTC application for medical termination at ?10 weeks of gestation and identified crucial research gaps. If we were to embark on a development programme for OTC or more generally, self-use of medical termination, the critical elements missing are the label comprehension, self-selection and actual use studies.Considering medical pregnancy termination through the over-the-counter regulatory lens clarifies critical evidence gaps.