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Paliwal Y, Gendron TL, Jones RM, Moczygemba L, Nadpara PA, Slattum PW
A qualitative study to understand over-the-counter medication use and decision-making among residents of senior-living communities
Res Social Adm Pharm (2019) 15:730-737.
INTRODUCTION: OTC medications are generally considered safe and convenient to use without requiring a prescription. However, the safety of an OTC medication and the final health outcome depends in part upon consumers' perceptions, beliefs, and their decision-making about OTC medication use. This study uses a qualitative approach to explore the knowledge, beliefs, and practices associated with OTC medication use and decision-making in adults aged 65 years and older. METHODS: A set of focus groups (N=10) were conducted in a sample of independently living older adult residents of senior apartment buildings (N=80) using purposeful sampling. All focus groups were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed qualitatively. RESULTS: Most participants considered OTC medications safe and effective to use if following the drug label instructions appropriately. Brand name products were perceived as equally or more effective compared to generic products by participants. Two approaches to OTC treatment decision-making were observed: 1) a decision to treat their symptoms by themselves (self-recommended) or 2) a decision to ask and/or follow their physician's recommendation (physician-recommended). Each of these treatment approaches may lead to the other depending on the person's financial and healthcare resources, the severity of the symptoms, experiences with the medication, and relationship with the physician. Maximum and fast relief was mentioned as the most important attribute in the final OTC purchase decision, followed by the lower cost, and easy to swallow dosage forms. Aspirin and ibuprofen were the two most frequently reported OTC medications associated with adverse effects and inappropriate use. CONCLUSIONS: Older adults, in general, feel positive about OTC medications and are satisfied with using them. Considering the self-reported malpractices and side effects associated with OTC medications, older adults should be encouraged to make safe and responsible decisions about self-medication.
Publication Date: 2019-06-01.
Last updated on Monday, August 10, 2020