Misuse of over the counter medicines in community pharmacies in Scotland

Duncan Hill, Amanda McCabe, Kelly Paterson, Jayne Stuart, Derna Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
465 Downloads (Pure)


The general public are taking more responsibility for their health, using community pharmacy as a source to access medication. There are a reported increase and change in the misuse of OTC medication from community pharmacies in Scotland (Wright et al, 2015). This article was designed to examine the self-reported use of medication from a small sample of community pharmacies in Scotland. The questionnaire gathered patient demographics and details of medicines used. The study concentrated on two treatment areas, opioid analgesics, and sedative antihistamines licensed as a sleep aid. Both previously identified as the most prevalent OTC medications that were perceived to being misused (Matheson et al, 2007). Data were collected over a short time period in 2015 from 15 community pharmacies. The data demonstrate the widespread misuse of OTC. The most prevalent group identified as females, 41–60 years old and employed. It was most commonly reported that the recommended treatment duration is exceeded rather than the maximum recommended daily dose. The recommendations from the article are that there needs to be greater awareness for pharmacists, pharmacy staff, and general public on the potential dangers of misusing OTC medications and the importance of adhering to the recommended dosing and duration guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Early online date26 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2017


  • community pharmacy
  • OTC misuse
  • Scotland


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