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Appropriate use of non-prescription drugs.


Mayyada M Wazaify

Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

This thesis considers the appropriate use of over-the-counter (OTC) products (also known as non-prescription drugs) from the perspective of community pharmacy, the general public and the impact of OTC drug consumption on attendance at Accident and Emergency (A & E) departments. A community pharmacy-based awareness campaign was used to ascertain if an extensive information campaign on the safe use of OTC medicines increased public awareness and helped pharmacists identify those who abuse/misuse OTC drugs. The campaign appeared to have little effect on patients' advice seeking behaviour, which could be due to a number of reasons. A harm-minimisation model for the identification and treatment of OTC drug abuse/misuse by community pharmacists was tested in six community pharmacies. Each pharmacist identified clients suspected of abusing/misusing OTC products and attempted to recruit and treat these individuals according to the study protocol. Success was noted with some cases, with clients agreeing to stop using the products and/or try safer alternatives. Difficulties were encountered such as lack of time and confidence on the pharmacists' part and lack of co-operation on the part of the clients. All participating pharmacists were interviewed to obtain feedback on the harm minimisation model and to identify any problems they had encountered. Strategies for improving the model have been recommended. Research was carried out to investigate the general public's (n=1000) opinion and perceptions of OTC medicines, with a focus on their knowledge and opinion of the misuse/abuse of such preparations. The survey revealed that OTC drugs and the community pharmacist were central to self-care. Furthermore, general public in Northern Ireland were highly aware of the abuse potential of some of OTC drugs.



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Mayyada M Wazaify. (2003) Appropriate use of non-prescription drugs. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 23rd September 2019].


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