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Self-medication of upper gastrointestinal symptoms: a community pharmacy study

Els Mehuys UGent, Charlotte Verrue UGent, Lucas Van Bortel UGent, Leen De Bolle UGent, Jean Paul Remon UGent and Danny De Looze UGent (2009) JOURNAL DE PHARMACIE DE BELGIQUE. p.84-88
abstract
BACKGROUND: Upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are a common reason for self-treatment with over-the-counter (OTC) medication. However, data on the typology of GI complaints for which individuals seek self-medication and, more importantly, on the prevalence of alarm symptoms in this population are scarce. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate: (i) the nature of GI symptoms people intend to self-medicate, (ii) prevalence of alarm symptoms, (iii) compliance with referral advice given by the pharmacist, and (iv) self-reported efficacy and frequency of use of OTC medication for minor complaints. METHODS: This descriptive study was performed in 63 community pharmacies. Participants (n=592, aged 18-80 y) completed a questionnaire to assess symptom characteristics and previous medical consulting. Based on this information, the pharmacist referred subjects to a physician or advised self-treatment. Four weeks later, participants were presented a follow-up questionnaire, evaluating compliance with referral advice or efficacy of self-treatment. Results: The most frequently reported GI complaints were burning retrosternal discomfort (49.2%), acid regurgitation (53.2%) and bothersome postprandial fullness (51.2%). At least 1 alarm symptom was present in 22.4% of the individuals, difficulty in swallowing being the most prevalent one (15.4%). Although twenty-one percent of the customers were referred, only 51.7% of these actually contacted a physician. Almost all of the remaining customers who were advised self-treatment reported symptom relief with the obtained OTC drug (95.1%). CONCLUSIONS: Mild GI symptoms will mostly resolve with self-treatment. Yet, the value of pharmacist counselling on OTC treatment should be recognized, as community pharmacists can play an important role in
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
self-medication, community pharmacy, pharmaceutical care
journal title
JOURNAL DE PHARMACIE DE BELGIQUE
J. Pharm. Belg.
issue
3
pages
84 - 88
ISSN
0047-2166
language
French
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A4
id
831761
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-831761
date created
2010-01-21 13:55:46
date last changed
2012-02-09 13:21:03
@article{831761,
  abstract     = {BACKGROUND: Upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are a common reason for self-treatment with over-the-counter (OTC) medication. However, data on the typology of GI complaints for which individuals seek self-medication and, more importantly, on the prevalence of alarm symptoms in this population are scarce. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate: (i) the nature of GI symptoms people intend to self-medicate, (ii) prevalence of alarm symptoms, (iii) compliance with referral advice given by the pharmacist, and (iv) self-reported efficacy and frequency of use of OTC medication for minor complaints. METHODS: This descriptive study was performed in 63 community pharmacies. Participants (n=592, aged 18-80 y) completed a questionnaire to assess symptom characteristics and previous medical consulting. Based on this information, the pharmacist referred subjects to a physician or advised self-treatment. Four weeks later, participants were presented a follow-up questionnaire, evaluating compliance with referral advice or efficacy of self-treatment. Results: The most frequently reported GI complaints were burning retrosternal discomfort (49.2\%), acid regurgitation (53.2\%) and bothersome postprandial fullness (51.2\%). At least 1 alarm symptom was present in 22.4\% of the individuals, difficulty in swallowing being the most prevalent one (15.4\%). Although twenty-one percent of the customers were referred, only 51.7\% of these actually contacted a physician. Almost all of the remaining customers who were advised self-treatment reported symptom relief with the obtained OTC drug (95.1\%). CONCLUSIONS: Mild GI symptoms will mostly resolve with self-treatment. Yet, the value of pharmacist counselling on OTC treatment should be recognized, as community pharmacists can play an important role in},
  author       = {Mehuys, Els and Verrue, Charlotte and Van Bortel, Lucas and De Bolle, Leen and Remon, Jean Paul and De Looze, Danny},
  issn         = {0047-2166},
  journal      = {JOURNAL DE PHARMACIE DE BELGIQUE},
  keyword      = {self-medication,community pharmacy,pharmaceutical care},
  language     = {fre},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {84--88},
  title        = {Self-medication of upper gastrointestinal symptoms: a community pharmacy study},
  year         = {2009},
}

Chicago
Mehuys, Els, Charlotte Verrue, Lucas Van Bortel, Leen De Bolle, Jean Paul Remon, and Danny De Looze. 2009. “Self-medication of Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms: a Community Pharmacy Study.” Journal De Pharmacie De Belgique (3): 84–88.
APA
Mehuys, E., Verrue, C., Van Bortel, L., De Bolle, L., Remon, J. P., & De Looze, D. (2009). Self-medication of upper gastrointestinal symptoms: a community pharmacy study. JOURNAL DE PHARMACIE DE BELGIQUE, (3), 84–88.
Vancouver
1.
Mehuys E, Verrue C, Van Bortel L, De Bolle L, Remon JP, De Looze D. Self-medication of upper gastrointestinal symptoms: a community pharmacy study. JOURNAL DE PHARMACIE DE BELGIQUE. 2009;(3):84–8.
MLA
Mehuys, Els, Charlotte Verrue, Lucas Van Bortel, et al. “Self-medication of Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms: a Community Pharmacy Study.” JOURNAL DE PHARMACIE DE BELGIQUE 3 (2009): 84–88. Print.