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 [email protected]
FDA panel advises against Merck’s Oxytrol patch Rx-to-OTC switch application
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee on Friday voted against Merck’s application to switch its Oxytrol patch from prescription-only to over the counter, citing concerns over use of therapy for an overactive bladder in women without a doctor’s intervention.
The committee voted five in favor and six opposed, also citing concerns that men might inappropriately choose to use the product as well.
Panelists opposed to the switch suggested that consumers would have a difficult time self-diagnosing an overactive bladder, as symptoms are similar to those of a number of more serious conditions like bladder malignancy or diabetes.
Proponents of the switch argued that women with overactive bladders may go years before consulting a physician and that an OTC option might encourage therapy sooner.
The Drug Facts label of the proposed OTC Oxytrol patch included a warning that use should be restricted to two weeks if it doesn’t work.
The FDA is expected to issue a decision on the switch application in January 2013.
Family Dollar expands product selections in anticipation of being the one-stop value shop for the holidays
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar on Thursday announced it is expanding its holiday selection to include hundreds of toys and gifts retailing for $10 or less.
"We know our customers look to Family Dollar to help them celebrate the holidays," stated Michael Bloom, Family Dollar president and COO. "This year, we are proud to offer an expanded selection of items to make this holiday season even more memorable and budget-friendly."
The toy lineup will include Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and Disney, along with trendy toy favorites like Kenya, Monster High, Angry Birds, The Avengers and Brave. Family Dollar will be offering a 10% discount for every $100 spent on toys, the dollar store retailer announced.
In addition to an increased seasonal assortment, Family Dollar has expanded its health and wellness, food and household departments to better serve customers’ everyday needs.
"Our goal is to make holiday shopping convenient and affordable for all of our customers," Bloom said. "With Family Dollar’s small format stores and newly re-designed layout, customers will find everything they need quickly and easily, in a fun and festive shopping environment."