Consumer knowledge about over-the-counter NSAIDs: they don't know what they don't know



Publication Details

Mullan, J., Weston, K. M., Bonney, A., Burns, P., Mullan, J. & Rudd, R. (2017). Consumer knowledge about over-the-counter NSAIDs: they don't know what they don't know. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41 (2), 210-214.


Objective: To investigate consumers' knowledge about commonly purchased over-the-counter (OTC) products containing ibuprofen. Methods: Customers buying two popular OTC ibuprofen-containing products (Nurofen or Nurofen Plus) were asked to complete a short survey assessing their knowledge about the products. Results: The survey was completed by 262 respondents, most of whom were older than 50 years of age; female; well-educated; with adequate functional health literacy. The majority correctly identified ibuprofen as an active ingredient and knew the correct intervals between doses. However, almost a third couldn't correctly identify the maximum daily dose and were unaware of some contraindications. Furthermore, fewer than half recognised potential side effects. Those who hadn't completed high school were significantly less likely to seek medical advice (when required) and significantly less likely to know when it was safe to take these products. Conclusions: The gaps in consumer knowledge, especially about the maximum daily dose, contraindications and potential side effects may be placing consumers at risk of experiencing ibuprofen-related adverse events. Implications for Public Health: Improving consumer knowledge to address these gaps in their understanding about the safe use of popular OTC ibuprofen-containing products is an important public health concern.

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