OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATION (OTC) AND IN-HOME DRUG STORAGE IN RURAL CRETE

Author(s): 
T VASILOPOULOS 1, G ARSENl 1, N TSAKOUNTAKIS 1, I KOMNINOS 1, C PAPAIOANNOU 1, C TRAPALIS 1, G VRENTZOS 1
1Health Centre of Ag. Barbara Heraclion, Greece
Text: 
BACKGROUND/ AIM: A randomized study of 6 months duration [January-June 2006], aiming to investigate the phenomenon of in-home drug storage and OTC medication among the population of a rural area of Crete.
METHODS: The study was conducted with the cooperation of doctors, nurses and Home Care services. We visited 87 randomly selected housekeeping in order to record and define the home stored medication, and acquire information concerning the way patients procure the drugs and the awareness of their rational use.
RESULTS: The study revealed a remarkably high ratio (31 %)of OTC drugs or prescribed medication of previous unfinished treatment, stored at home. The drugs we recorded were classified as NSAD, antibiotics, gastrointestinal drugs, anti-depressants, anti-hypertensives. The first two drug categories presented with the highest ratios. Furthermore, it was observed a 18% ratio of drug administration under the recommendation of the family environment, proclaiming similar affection. A notable high ratio (16%) of expired stored medication was recorded at the housekeeping of the elderly.
CONCLUSIONS: OTC medication can be potentially hazardous due to its adverse effects and its irrational use as well. The facultative drug misuse or overuse is associated with the ignorance, the old age and the socioeconomic status of most patients of this rural area. The need for education of the population by the General Practitioner about the use and the correct way of acquiring their medication, in order to secure their health and prevent possible complications is underlined.