Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

Title abbreviation: Adv Clin Exp Med
JCR Impact Factor (IF) – 1.736
5-Year Impact Factor – 2.135
Index Copernicus  – 168.52
MEiN – 70 pts

ISSN 1899–5276 (print)
ISSN 2451-2680 (online)
Periodicity – monthly

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Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

2016, vol. 25, nr 2, March-April, p. 349–360

doi: 10.17219/acem/58887

Publication type: original article

Language: English

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Correlates of Abusing and Misusing Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers Among Adult Population of Wrocław (Poland)

Monika Wójta-Kempa1,A,B,C,D,E,F, Dominik M. Krzyżanowski1,A,B,E,F

1 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Science, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland


Background. Almost 90% of households in Poland buy medicines on their own initiative. The most popular OTC medicines bought by Polish consumers are painkillers and non-steroid-anti-inflammatory drugs.
Objectives. The aim of this article was to recognize and describe the most important predictive factors of the abuse and misuse of over-the-counter pain relievers among adults in Wrocław (Poland). The groups of users were selected and described. Some examples of misuse were analyzed.
Material and Methods. Three hundred eighty six adult inhabitants of Wrocław took part in the survey. The quota sample was representative referring to the most important socio-demographic factors (sex and median age).
Results. Almost 91% of participants declare taking OTC pain relievers, and 1.3% of them are their daily users. Only 6.2% of adult inhabitants of Wrocław never take OTC pain relievers. The category of “heavy users” embraces 11% of participants. The most important risk factors of overusing OTC pain relievers are sex (female), age over 55 years and the low health status. Only half of participants read the box label regularly and 25% of users admit they have modified recommended doses. Over 60% shortened recommended intervals between doses and 16% took two or more different pain medications (containing different substances). The non-medical purposes of using OTC pain relievers were: tiredness (7%), stressful situations (5.4%), and discomfort (18.4%). Some users take pain medications to cure hangovers (26%), or instead of the appropriate medicine (7%). About 20% take pain medications without a doctor’s advice for longer than the recommended 3 days, and 10% never consult taking such medications with doctors.
Conclusion. Pain should be treated aggressively and successfully, especially among chronically ill patients. We should monitor the consumption of OTC pain relievers and limit their current excessively supply and high availability.

Key words

chronic pain, OTC drugs, misuse of taking OTC pain medications

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