Community Attitudes and Habits Toward Over-The-Counter Drugs: Results of a Study Conducted in Thessaloniki, Greece



To determine the frequency of use, sources of information, and selection criteria of Greek residents regarding over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, as well as their opinion about their dispensing in nonpharmacy settings.


This was a survey study in which an anonymous cross-sectional questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge, habits, and attitudes about OTC drugs. Data were collected from March 2017 to July 2017 in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. Logistic regression was used to investigate significant factors that affect the participants’ behavior.


A total of 782 participants completed the questionnaire. The population had a mean (SD) age of 46 (17) years and 55.1% were females. About one-third (32.5%) of the participants used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs more than once per week. OTC drugs acting on the gastrointestinal tract were used to a lower extent (13.2%). The majority (84%) of the respondents consult a healthcare professional about the information on OTC drugs. Furthermore, when not sure about which OTC drug to use, 510 participants (65.6%) valued their physician’s advice, whereas 480 participants (60.2%) valued their pharmacist’s advice. Most participants (61.2%) were negatively inclined toward the purchase of OTC drugs in nonpharmacy settings, with younger participants being more receptive to out-of-pharmacy OTC drug purchase than older ones (odds ratio 2.20; 95% confidence interval 1.37-3.54).


Healthcare professionals play an important role in providing people information on their selection of OTC drugs. This could be the main reason why participants prefer to buy OTC drugs from community pharmacies rather than retail shops.


Panagiotis-Nikolaos Lalagkas Georgios Poulentzas Anna Takaviti Zaklin Toursidou Theodora Tatsiou Dimitra Hadjipavlou-Litina Björn Wettermark Christos Kontogiorgis Theodoros Constantinides

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