Damian Świeczkowski, Piotr Merks, Miłosz Jaguszewski

Samoleczenie z wykorzystaniem produktów leczniczych o kategorii dostępności OTC – zagrożenia i korzyści dla pacjentów oraz systemu ochrony zdrowia

Self-medication with OTC medicinal products – risks and benefits for patients and the health care system

Self-medication involves the use of Over-The-Counter (OTC) medicinal products that patients can purchase without a prescription. These medicines are deemed safe and effective treatments by the U.S. FDA as well as other international health authorities and remain commonly used in self-treatable health conditions and symptoms comprising, for instance, cold, minor pain, various allergies in large population-subsets. Self-medication, as an intergal part of modern health care systems remains beneficial through rationalization of primary care, and optimalization of the pharmacists' potential. Data from the Polish pharmaceutical market indicate that the sale of OTC becomes increasingly popular. On the other hand, it provides a great risk of incorrect diagnoses, exposure to dangerous side effects and interactions. Moreover, it may delay the diagnosis by masking symptoms of serious diseases. Since recent study reports suggests that properly used non-prescription medicines are safe for the patients, educational activities obtained by pharmacists may aim to increase the level of knowledge of patients on the use of non-prescription drugs. This efforts should be considered as one of the most important ways to protect societies from the negative effects of self-medication. Thus, the increased participation of pharmacists in providing advices during selfmedication plays a critical role by leading to an increased pharmacovigilance and subsequently lowering the risk of drug-related problems.

Keywords: self-medication, OTC medicines, pharmaceutical care

©Farm Pol, 2016, 72(5): 286–290