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OTC-(Over-the-Counter-)medication in depressive disorders

Journal: Die Psychiatrie - Grundlagen und Perspektiven
ISSN: 1614-4864
Issue: 2008 (Vol. 5): Issue 2 2008
Pages: 119-125

OTC-(Over-the-Counter-)medication in depressive disorders

M. Linden 1, H. Spitznagel 2, M. Ploch 3, K. Wurzendorf 1, M. Schaefer4
1 Forschungsgruppe Psychosomatische Rehabilitation an der Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin; 2 Lichtwer Healthcare, Berlin; 3 Cassella- med, Köln; 4 Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie der Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Keywords

Depression, patient education, OTC medication, St. Johns Worth, pharmacy

Summary

60% of men and 80% of women take over the counter (OTC) medications. OTC medication is taken for many symptoms, which are not identical with trivial illnesses. The rate is growing because of reorganisations and growing costs in the health care system. To avoid inadequate treatment an „informed self medication“ is needed, i.e. patients must be informed and gain knowledge about the proper indication for treatment, the choice of medication and the course of treatment as well as about risks and alternatives. The scientific question is which options and possible risks are associated with OTC medication and to what degree pharmacists can guide the patients. To answer this question a study on the epidemiology of care was done in pharmacies. 40% of customers who were buying the antidepressant St. Johns Worth were suffering from acute and clinically relevant depressive symptoms with no difference in comparison to patients with a prescription. Only 57% of customers have informed their physician about the self medication. 68,7% of patients with self medication got intensive counselling in the pharmacy. Two thirds of the pharmacists say that they have the time to counsel customers and that they feel qualified to do so. Self medication needs more scientific, therapeutic and political attention. Physicians and pharmacists must work together to guarantee an informed self medication.

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