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'Wait, Educate Before You Self-Medicate'
Date:3/20/2008

New Data Suggest That Despite Knowing the Risk of Self-Medication, 76 Percent of American Adults Use Non-Prescription Medications for Themselves

and Their Children

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., March 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- New survey results released today reveal that, while most U.S. adults take non-prescription or over-the-counter medications to treat a variety of common illnesses in order to save time, money and a trip to the doctor, many may be placing themselves or their children at risk by leaving the healthcare provider out of the equation. This survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) with support from sanofi-aventis, sought to identify and understand the types of conditions for which consumers are most likely to self-medicate themselves and their children. The survey also examined the factors that motivate consumers to take non-prescription or over-the-counter medications before or instead of consulting their doctor.

According to the survey, 29 percent of consumers reported that they typically self-treat seasonal allergies and 14 percent reported self-medicating year-round allergies. Although 9 of 10 adults who self-medicate conditions such as cough and cold, seasonal or year-round allergies, heartburn, or severe headaches, cited familiarity with how to treat their own (90%) or their child's illness (93%) due to past experience treating the condition; the majority (76%) recognized that self-medicating with non-prescription medications can pose possible risks. About one in five adults who typically self-medicate report that they have not used non-prescription medications as directed, either by taking more than the recommended dose (20%) or by taking these medications more frequently than indicated (17%). When asked specifically about self-treatment for seasonal allergies, 68 percent of seasonal allergy sufferers who typically treat
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SOURCE sanofi-aventis
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