OTC use on rise as self-care trend grows

Over-the-counter medications continue to gain in popularity among consumers, who — whether as a matter of cost savings or convenience — are increasingly turning to OTCs to treat their conditions, including both acute, episodic conditions like the common cold and such chronic conditions as frequent pain and allergy. 

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According to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers conducted in September, one-quarter of patients say they have increased their use of OTC products in the past year.

More and more, consumers are turning to OTCs as the first line of defense when they first get sick — regardless of the condition suffered — and that appears to be consistent among 
AccentHealth viewers.

“However, the extent to which OTCs are used varies by condition,” explained AccentHealth senior research analyst Sara Mawhinney. “Headache sufferers reported using OTC medications most often (89%), while sufferers of certain digestive disorders use OTCs less often (53%).”

Among those health conditions treated with OTCs, AccentHealth viewers reported that allergies, sinus/nasal congestion and pain — including back, muscle and menstrual — to be the most commonly suffered chronic conditions. 

In the Dec. 10 issue of DSN, Patient Views will examine the reasons behind consumers’ increased OTC usage, attitudes and perceptions around safety and efficacy, and a look at how Accent-Health viewers make OTC product choices.

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as in the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to reder@lf.com.

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