Self-medication with over the counter drugs among elderly adults.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Laurie M. Kennedy-Malone (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Self-medication with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs is an economical choice of treatment for common self-limiting illnesses. As more medications are made available as OTC drugs, and as the population of older adults continues to increase, a need arises to monitor how elderly individuals use these agents. The purpose of this study was to assess the self-medication practices with OTC drugs among older adults. The study took place in a city in North Carolina in apartments managed by the city’s Housing Authority and a private physician’s office. Participants included 39 adults ages 59 to 91. Respondents lived independently, used OTC drugs, and were responsible for their health care decisions. Conn’s Self-Medication Practice Tool was used to assess symptoms the older adults were treating with OTC drugs; therapeutic categories of OTC drugs used; frequency of OTC drugs used; and the use of alcohol, prescription drugs, and caffeine. The respondents reported pain as the symptom most frequently self-treated with OTC drugs. Ninety percent of the respondents used pain medicine, and approximately two thirds (67%) of the respondents used at least one high blood pressure medicine. More than half of the respondents (59%) used caffeine daily, and 10% used alcohol. The researchers concluded that older adults might be unaware of the adverse risks associated with concurrent use of pain medicines, alcohol, high blood pressure drugs, and regular caffeine use. This makes it necessary for all nurses and other clinicians providing health care to older adults to intensify efforts to educate and guard these patients and ensure appropriate use of OTC drugs.

Additional Information

Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 29 (8) 10-15.
Language: English
Date: 2004
Older people, Drugs, Medications, Over the counter, Use

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