1Scuola di specializzazione in Pediatria, Ospedale Infantile “Regina Margherita”, AOU “Città della Salute e della Scienza”, Torino
2Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università di Torino
3Pediatra, ASL TO1, Torino
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Key words: Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, Self-medication, Patient-paediatrician relationship, Drug taste, Paediatric patients, Adverse drug reactions, Drug interactions
Background - Over-the-counter medicines (OTCms) are widely employed in paediatric
field, but their use is difficult to monitor. Even if several studies have been conducted
worldwide, in Italy data are lacking.
Objectives - The primary endpoint was to analyse the patterns of OTCms use in children in the north-west of Italy. Secondary endpoints were the typology of medications and other elements conditioning OTCms use.
Materials and methods - An observational study, based on a questionnaire delivered to parents waiting in a paediatric practice office. Questions concerned: socio-cultural overview, self-medication use behaviour, drugs’ characteristics, advertisement impact, awareness of potential Drug Interactions (DI) or Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs), and type of OTCms utilized (antipyretics were excluded, being universally the most studied OTCms). Results - A total of 147 questionnaires was collected. 76.9% of parents declared to use OTCms to treat their children. Most used OTCms were drugs for upper respiratory tract (56.1%), vitamins (18.5%), analgesics (14.2%) and treatment for gastrointestinal disorders (11.2%). Most of parents (83.1%) purchased OTCms after the suggestion of the paediatrician/ pharmacist; 93.6% worried about possible ADRs and DIs; 64.9% of parents asked about OTCms’ taste and compatibility with food/beverages (74.5%), and 20.2% were influenced by advertisement.
Conclusion - The collected data allowed to make an initial evaluation about OTCms use in paediatric field in the north-west of Italy. Even if this subject is really relevant and discussed, overall data in the Italian context are lacking; hence one of the purposes would be to implement the present study by extending it to a more widespread population.
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