Over the Counter Medications: An Assessment of their Safety and Use

Abstract

Over the counter, drug means a drug that is sold without a prescription. The use of over the counter drugs is growing rapidly in India. Therefore, a study was conducted with the aim to determine the prevalence of over the counter medications in students of pharmacy colleges in eastern Uttar Pradesh and to access patients’ perceived safety of these medications. A cross-sectional study was designed; using a self-administered questionnaire for the students’ convenience and easy response disclosure. Data were statistically analyzed. A total of N = 800 students participated in this survey. Ease in access to OTC medicine, availability of pharmacist consultation and advertisement in print and electronic media were the main factors disclosed by the respondents that may result in an increase in the use of OTC products. The study revealed that the use of OTC medications was high in the students. Gender, age, and educational institution were found significantly affecting the use of OTC medicines. Use of OTC medicines was generally higher among female students (p = 0.001). It was also found that the knowledge about adverse effects and contraindications is very limited.

Keywords: OTC drugs, RMP, analgesic, antipyretic, Adverse drug reactions