The authors do not have any conflict of interests.
The use of prescription medicines and self-medication among children—a population-based study in Finland†
Article first published online: 4 JUN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Volume 19, Issue 10, pages 1000–1008, October 2010
How to Cite
Ylinen, S., Hämeen-Anttila, K., Sepponen, K., Lindblad, Å. K. and Ahonen, R. (2010), The use of prescription medicines and self-medication among children—a population-based study in Finland. Pharmacoepidem. Drug Safe., 19: 1000–1008. doi: 10.1002/pds.1963
- Issue published online: 4 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 4 JUN 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 FEB 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 23 FEB 2010
- Manuscript Received: 23 SEP 2009
- drug utilization;
- population survey;
- complementary and alternative medicine
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and concomitant use of prescription medicines and self-medication, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins, and complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) among Finnish children aged under 12 years.
We carried out a nationwide postal survey of the use of medicines by a representative sample (n = 6000) of Finnish children aged under 12 years in spring 2007. A response rate of 67% (n = 4032) was achieved. The current use of prescription medicines and the use of OTC medicines, vitamins, and CAMs in the preceding 2 days were the main outcome measures.
In total, 17% of children had used prescription medicines and 50% some self-medication. The corresponding figures for OTC medicines, vitamins, and CAMs use were 17, 37, and 11%, respectively. Drugs for obstructive airway diseases were the most common prescription medicines, whereas analgesics and antipyretics, including non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-medicines (NSAID), were the most common OTC medicines reported. Vitamin D was the most common vitamin, while fish oils and fatty acids were the most common CAMs used. Ten percent of the children had used prescription medicines and self-medication concomitantly.
Most of the children's medication consists of self-medication, and especially of vitamin use. However, also a considerable proportion had used prescription medicines, and a minority prescription medicines and self-medication concomitantly. In three of the cases, a combination of prescription and OTC medicine with a potential risk for interactions were found. Physicians should be aware of this wide use of self-medication when prescribing medicines. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.