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Use patterns of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and perspectives on OTC medications among Korean adult patients with chronic diseases: gender and age differences

Authors Kim HJ, Yang YM, Choi EJ

Received 11 May 2018

Accepted for publication 6 July 2018

Published 28 August 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1597—1606


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Hyun Jeong Kim,* Young-Mo Yang,* Eun Joo Choi

Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Chosun University, Gwangju, South Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: A number of symptomatic patients tend to use over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription medications. OTC medications can be easily obtained in pharmacies for self-treatment, but using OTC medications is not always safe and beneficial for patients. The aims of this study were to examine the use patterns of OTC medications and assess patients’ perspectives regarding the use of OTC medications in Korean patients with chronic diseases.
Patients and methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional survey was carried out with Korean patients who visited the community pharmacy, located at the southern region of South Korea, during September 2015.
Results: A total of 345 patients participated in this survey. Approximately 64% of Korean survey respondents reported that they had used OTC drugs. The most commonly used OTC medications were antipyretics, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. The perception level of Korean consumers on adverse drug reactions and drug–drug interactions from OTC medications was relatively low. Although OTC package leaflets are a main source of information about OTC medications, Korean consumers’ level of reading OTC package leaflets was relatively low.
Conclusion: Based on these results, this study can serve as a meaningful starting point for interventions of health care professionals regarding OTC medications in South Korea. In particular, pharmacists should inform their consumers of drug-related problems from OTC drugs during consultation with the consumers; however, information about OTC drugs should be tailored to consumer information needs with the consideration of his or her circumstance. It is somewhat difficult to generalize the results from this study to other regions of South Korea since most of the respondents were probably residents of a small rural city located in the southern region of South Korea.

Keywords: over-the-counter drugs, chronic disease, community pharmacy, survey, Korea

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