Consumers’ Knowledge and Use of Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) in Over-The-Counter Medications

Muhammed Sharky, A (2018) Consumers’ Knowledge and Use of Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) in Over-The-Counter Medications. Masters thesis, J.K.K. Nattraja College of Pharmacy, Komarapalayam.


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Acetaminophen is the most commonly used medication It can be used in both adult and pediatric populations and can be an effective analgesic and antipyretic to relieve symptoms associated with injury, viral and bacterial infections, and headaches.96" 98Although considered safe when taken as recommended, liver toxicity can occur with doses greater than 4 g or when used in patients with preexisting liver dysfunction.96'99 Acetaminophen toxicity is the most common cause of acute liver failure and is the most common reason for calls made to poison control centers. 97'1" It has been estimated that overdose with acetaminophen leads to more than 56,000 emergency department visits, more than 2,600 hospitalizations, and approximately 400 deaths from acute liver failure every year. Acetaminophen is available in multiple dosage forms, including oral pills and liquids, suppositories, and even intravenous formulations in some hospitals. Because of its presence in so many different products, patients may not recognize which products contain acetaminophen. An estimated 15% of acute liver failure cases result from patients who unknowingly consumed multiple acetaminophen-containing preparations simultaneously and more than 100 deaths annually are caused by unintentional overdose.97'98 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued several recommendations for labeling of OTC pain relievers. In 2006, FDA proposed adding a new warning for liver damage and making the active ingredient more prominent on the packaging.10° These changes were finalized in 2009 with some additional requirements.'" The new regulations require the liver warning to be present on the immediate container and the outer carton labeling. In addition, a warning appears stating that patients should not use acetaminophen with warfarin and that they should ask a physician or pharmacist if they are unsure whether a medication contains acetaminophen. Examining the effect of these changes on patient knowledge of acetaminophen safety, dosing, and identification is important. Better identification of gaps in patient knowledge regarding the presence of acetaminophen in OTC medications is needed. This will facilitate development of interventions to increase patient safety, prevent overdoses, and guide patients in obtaining appropriate care following an overdose. AIM: To evaluate patient knowledge of over-the-counter (OTC) products containing acetaminophen. OBJECTIVES: To study the patient knowledge and ability of safe use OTC products containing acetaminophen, including understanding risks, identifying products, and dosing different formulations. CONCLUSION: Paracetamol, as all drugs, has desirable and undesirable characteristics. It has benefits related to pain relief and it has risks related to adverse effects. This study reiterates the lack of patient knowledge concerning acetaminophen identification, safe use, and potential risks. Certain issues need to be addressed regarding the OTC use of paracetamol, namely raising awareness of the potential side effects, reason of intake, and the recommended daily dose. Greater education is needed for patients regarding Paracetamol's purpose, the types of products containing Paracetamol, and how to use acetaminophen safely and manage toxicity. During patient contact, pharmacists and prescribers can play an important role in educating patients on the appropriate use of products containing Paracetamol. There must be national education campaigns by health care professionals and drug information centers to inform consumers on the safe use of OTC pain relief products, encouragement of the habits to read instruction given in the leaflet. Future actions should be heading in the direction of recognizing factors that influence consumers' view of analgesics and OTC drugs in general, given that these beliefs are associated with proper use, as well as with over-use. The small sample size of participants from two local community pharmacies in this study limits the generalizability of findings. The surveys also were conducted in busy public areas with relatively more distractions than one may encounter in the privacy of one's home. In addition, whether survey participants differed from those who declined to participate is unknown. Therefore, one should not interpret findings from this study as representing a national sample of patients.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: REG.No.261640206
Uncontrolled Keywords: Consumers’ Knowledge ; Paracetamol ; Acetaminophen ; Over-The-Counter Medications.
Subjects: PHARMACY > Pharmacy Practice
Depositing User: Subramani R
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 15:17
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2019 02:52

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