Back to Journals » Clinical Interventions in Aging » Volume 13

Preferences and attitudes of older adults of Bialystok, Poland toward the use of over-the-counter drugs

Authors Cybulski M, Cybulski L, Krajewska-Kulak E, Orzechowska M, Cwalina U

Received 30 November 2017

Accepted for publication 16 February 2018

Published 10 April 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 623—632


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Mateusz Cybulski,1 Lukasz Cybulski,2 Elzbieta Krajewska-Kulak,1 Magda Orzechowska,1 Urszula Cwalina3

1Department of Integrated Medical Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland; 2National Security Student, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Olsztyn, Poland; 3Department of Statistics and Medical Informatics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

Purpose: The aim of the study was to assess preferences and attitudes toward the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs among residents of Bialystok aged 60 or older.
Patients and methods: The study included 170 people, inhabitants of Bialystok aged over 60: 85 students of the University of a Healthy Senior and the University of Psychogeriatric Prophylaxis, and 85 students of the University of the Third Age in Bialystok. The study made use of a diagnostic survey conducted via a questionnaire prepared by the authors.
The vast majority of respondents bought OTC drugs for own use. About one-third of the respondents from each analyzed group bought OTC drugs less often than once every 3 months. Over half of the respondents bought OTC drugs due to a cold. A majority of the respondents were of the opinion that OTC drugs should be sold only in pharmacies. Over 40% of seniors took 1 OTC drug regularly. Most respondents also took vitamins and supplements. The main sources of information on OTC drugs for the studied seniors were their doctor and pharmacist. Respondents did not always consult the treatment method with a doctor or pharmacist. Over half of the respondents familiarized themselves with the contents of the OTC drug package leaflet. Over three-quarters of the respondents were familiar with drug disposal methods; however, despite declarations of being familiar with these principles, a significant percentage did not bring back medication to a pharmacy or clinic, or threw the drugs into the trash.
Our study found that in our sample there were many OTC drug consumers who did not always demonstrate responsible attitudes toward using this group of drugs. Thus, older people should be educated on the possible adverse effects of taking OTC drugs without consulting a doctor or pharmacist as well as basic drug disposal principles. Furthermore, legislation should be introduced that will limit the wide availability of OTC drugs, particularly to the elderly; and thus, lower the costs of hospitalization and outpatient treatment of this age group. Also, a wider-reaching study should be conducted. It should include a larger group of elderly people as well as information on intake of prescribed medications in order to be able to determine the frequency of drug consumption in this population, as well as seniors’ preferences and attitudes in this regard.

elderly, geriatric pharmacology, nutritional supplements, polypharmacy, self-medication, vitamins

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]