Many of us are taking too much ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), according to a recent study published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.
The researchers of the study, led by Dr David Kaufman from Boston University, looked at nearly 1,500 people who use ibuprofen who were asked to keep a diary of all medications they were taking over the course of a week.
Looking at these diaries, the investigators found that 11% of participants took more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen in a day with another 4% taking more than the recommended dose of other NSAIDs that were included in the study.
When exiting the study, participants were surveyed to determine some factors such as medical history, demographics, knowledge of label instructions as well as attitudes to label reading and dosing behaviour.
From this survey data it was found that more males exceeded the daily limit and other factors such as ongoing pain, poor physical function and daily smoking were factors that contributed to the excessive use of the over-the-counter products. Additionally, those participants who took more than the recommended dose tended to have an attitude of ‘choosing their own dose’ and not starting with the lowest dose as well as a poor knowledge of the recommended one-time and 24-hour doses.
“NSAIDs are among the most commonly used medicines in the US and worldwide. These drugs can have serious side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and heart attacks and are often taken without medical oversight because many products are available over-the-counter,” stressed Kaufman to the New York Post. “The attitude that users can choose their own dose regardless of label directions, along with poor knowledge of dosing limits, is associated with exceeding the daily limit.”
The study authors conclude that education really is key to reducing this worrying level of excess dosing of NSAIDs.
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