Effect of Reading Additional Safety Information on Planned Use of Over-the-Counter Analgesics


Deborah Dillon McDonald, University of Connecticut School of Nursing, 231 Glenbrook Road, Storrs, CT 06269-2026. E-mail: deborah.mcdonald@uconn.edu


ABSTRACT Objectives: This study was used to test the effect on planned safe use of over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics of adding information about the potential for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) interaction with antihypertensive medications, the potential for interaction of alcohol and acetaminophen, and NSAID ceiling effects to the Federal Drug Administration's (FDA's) OTC analgesics pamphlet.

Design: A randomized posttest-only double-blind experimental design was used to test an intervention with a comparison group reading the FDA pamphlet, and treatment group reading the pamphlet with added information.

Sample: Participants included 137 adults.

Intervention: Participants read the treatment or the comparison pamphlet.

Results: Both groups responded with similar planned use of OTC analgesics. The majority were likely to read the label before taking an OTC analgesic, but were unlikely to give acetaminophen to a family member using antihypertensive medication.

Conclusions: Reading additional information about OTC analgesics resulted in no greater intention to safely use analgesics. Responses indicated reluctance to use OTC analgesics, and the potential need for increased health teaching regarding use of OTC analgesics with antihypertensive medication. Public health teaching should include the importance of treating pain and selecting the safest OTC analgesics for the clinical situation.