Home > Purchasing over the counter (OTC) medicinal products containing codeine - easy access, advertising, misuse and perceptions of medicinal risk.

Wells, John Sg and Bergin, Michael and Van Hout, Marie-Claire and McGuinness, Pádraig and De Pleissisc, Jaco and Rich, Eileen and Dada, Siphokazi and Wells, Richard and Gooney, Martina Ann (2018) Purchasing over the counter (OTC) medicinal products containing codeine - easy access, advertising, misuse and perceptions of medicinal risk. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences , 21 , (1) , p. 30049.

URL: https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/jpps/index.ph...

PURPOSE: Codeine containing medicines can carry a number of health risks associated with the increase in reported misuse and dependence, however they are still readily available over the counter (OTC) in many countries. The aim of this novel study was to report on the results of a survey of customers purchasing OTC codeine containing medicinal products at pharmacies in Ireland, South Africa and England; exploring use, sources of knowledge and perception of risks.

METHODS: The study design was an exploratory cross sectional survey. It involved a customer self-administered questionnaire at the point of purchase (n=1230).  Relationships between categorical variables were analysed using Pearson chi-square for bivariate analysis. Continuous scale variables were analysed using one way analysis of variance.

RESULTS: In Ireland 6% stated they purchased codeine containing products weekly, in South Africa 13% and in England 16%. In Ireland and England women are more likely to view codeine containing products as harmful. In England older adults are more likely to perceive codeine containing products as harmful. A higher proportion of customers in South Africa opposed restricting codeine containing products to prescription only when compared with people in Ireland and England.

CONCLUSIONS: Codeine containing products are widely purchased and used in all three jurisdictions. Whilst the majority of customers appear to have some awareness and knowledge of risks, it does not materially impact on their purchasing behaviour with a substantial minority purchasing/using such products on a weekly basis. This regularity of purchase whilst indicative of the popularity of such products, may also be a potential indicator of misuse. Future research is needed in relation to cultural and gendered differences and targeted information giving and harm reduction initiatives for safe usage of these medicinal products.

Item Type:Article
Page Range:p. 30049
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Effects and consequences
B Substances > Opioids (opiates) > Opioid product > Codeine
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Substance by legal status > Over the counter drug (medicine / medication)
F Concepts in psychology > Attitude and behaviour > Attitude toward substance use
G Health and disease > State of health
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Marketing and public relations (advertising)
T Demographic characteristics > Gender differences
T Demographic characteristics > Pharmacist
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom > England
VA Geographic area > Africa > South Africa

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