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

their symptoms with non-prescription medications have driven a car while doing so, even though some of these medications may cause the user to be impaired and their labels state to use caution when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.

"No matter what medication you are taking, whether it is prescription or over-the-counter, medicines should always be taken with care," says Ray Bullman, Executive Vice President of the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE). "By asking questions, carefully following instructions on the OTC Drug Facts label or the printout accompanying prescription medicines, sharing information with your doctor or pharmacist and responsibly educating yourself about the medication you are taking, you can significantly reduce any associated risks."

The survey results also revealed that more than four in five adults (82%) typically self-medicate for various health conditions they have experienced in the past year that may be treated or relieved by non-prescription medication, the most common of which are colds (56%), coughs (37%) and seasonal allergies (29%). However, while many self-medicate because it is more convenient (86%) or because they believe their illness is not serious enough to warrant a doctor's visit (78%), more often than not, their symptoms continue. Results show that 70 percent of adults who treat their cold and/or seasonal allergy symptoms with non-prescription medications experience persistent symptoms, such as nasal congestion (35%), which leads them to consult their doctor or to seek an alternate treatment, which may cost them more time and money.

"At times it can be very difficult for individuals to distinguish the symptoms of a viral cold from those symptoms due to seasonal allergies. Therefore, to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate recommendations for prescription and non-prescription medication, it is helpful in such situations for people to seek advice from their heal
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SOURCE sanofi-aventis
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