Health & Wellness

Inappropriate OTC Use Common

By Wendy Haaf

Judging by the findings of a recent study, a large minority of us are using over-thecounter (OTC) medications inappropriately or incorrectly. While 80 percent of the age- 65+ respondents to a questionnaire were confident in their ability to self-treat with OTC medications, more than half of this group did so incorrectly. Common errors included using expired meds, taking more frequent doses or higher dosages than prescribed, and consuming meds with alcohol.

The study authors point out that OTC medications that older people should avoid—including allergy and sleep aids with the sedative diphenhydramine— typically don’t have relevant warning labels. Authors also suggest that, considering the high percentage of adverse effects from medication misuse, there should be increased focus on consumer education and pharmacist intervention regarding OTC-meds use in older adults.

Source: Journal of the American Pharmacists Association

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