Background: Data on the use of over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics comparing different adolescent ethnic groups is scarce. In Oslo, almost one quarter of the adolescent population come from an immigrant background. Objective: The aim of this study is to describe possible differences in the use of OTC analgesics between Norwegian adolescents (15-16 year olds) and adolescents with Muslim and Other immigrant background.
Methods: A survey on health and medication use was undertaken among 10 graders (15-16 year olds) in all Secondary Schools in Oslo, Norway. This was the youth part of the Oslo Health Study in 2000-2001. There were 7343 participants in the survey, 3612 boys and 3695 girls.
Results: Norwegian adolescents were more likely to report use of OTC analgesics during the past four weeks, 24,4% of the boys and 57,5% of the girls reported using such medication. In the Muslim group, 17,9% of the boys and 34,5% of the girls reported use of OTC analgesics. Similar figures for Other immigrant background were 21,8% and 32,9%. Use within the Muslim group depended on nationality, among Pakistani girls only 24,0% had used these preparations, while 60,4% of Iranian girls reported the same. The differences were not as striking for boys.
Conclusions: A difference exists across ethnicity in adolescents’ use of OTC analgesics. Adolescents from Muslim and Other immigrant background countries used less OTC analgesics than ethnic Norwegians. The use within the Muslim group further depends on nationality.