ADOLESCENTS´ VIEWS ON SELF MEDICATION WITH OTC ANALGESICS INVESTIGATED BY FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEWS
The use of OTC analgesics among adolescents is widespread. Little is known about why they use it.
This study aims at a better understanding of why adolescents use OTC analgesics, the availability of the drugs, and how young people are informed about the use. This information is valuable in designing a quantitative survey on the same subject.
Material and methods:
Pupils aged fourteen to sixteen years, from two junior high schools in central Oslo, were interviewed in four focus groups, each sex separately. The interviews were audio taped, transcribed and analyzed by systematic text condensation.
Results and Interpretation:
A total of 29 adolescents participated. The adolescents used analgesics on a wide range of indications. Most common were headache, menstruation, fever, earache, injuries during sport and pain associated with braces. Some adolescents reported using analgesics to prevent pain in stressful situations, to use analgesics against sleeplessness and to increase the effect of alcohol. Systematic information on OTC analgesics was rarely attained. The pattern of use was according to the adolescents mainly acquired from parents. The adolescents knew little about side-effects. Some were worried that continuous use or high doses might bring down the effect. OTC analgesics were easily accessible at home and they also bought it themselves. They gradually started to administrate their own medication without consulting adults.
We found that there is a need for more information about OTC analgesics among adolescents.