Survey reveals 20 per cent of UK individuals have misused over the counter drugs

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16th February 2016 16:58 - Pharmaceutical

A recent pharmaceutical survey found that around 20 per cent of Britain’s population have misused over the counter drugs at some point in their life. The misuse was mainly via using the medication longer than advised, taking it in a higher dose or using it more than recommended.

The research, carried out by the University of Aberdeen, consisted of 434 randomly selected UK individuals from the ages of 19 - 92 years of age. The figures showed that 16 people (4 per cent) disclosed that they used over the counter medication for non-medical intent; something the researchers regarded as ‘abuse’ of a non-prescription medicine.

2 per cent of the respondents admitted that they had a dependency on the drugs they were taking while five out of the six people who purchased their medication from a pharmacy revealed they frequented several locations, with only one attending the same pharmacy every time.

Researchers from the university stated, “While non-prescription medicines are often perceived by the public as being safer than prescription medicines, they can cause harm. Most dependent individuals were rarely or never questioned by pharmacy staff about their medicine needs or health condition when purchasing the non-prescription medicine”.

The final data showed that younger individuals, people who had used illegal drugs and those suffering with a long term illness had higher tendencies of abusing the over the counter medication.

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