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Exploring Over-The-Counter Medication Use among College Students and the Role of Pharmacists

Olufunmilola Abraham*, Alison M Feathers, Loren J Schleiden, Xinyan Ye

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are easily accessible and allow access to treatment options for people who do not or are too busy to receive care from physicians or other healthcare providers [1]. Consequently, OTC medications provide treatment to 60 million people in the U.S [1]. Besides convenience, OTC medications are also affordable treatment options [1]. Therefore, self-medication is a common practice, particularly with the use of OTC medications [2]. However, this practice puts people at risk of developing adverse events, side-effects, or adverse drug reactions (ADRs) [2]. Additionally, self-medication could lead to misusing or abusing OTC medications [2]. Previous studies have shown that a common misconception about OTC medications is that they are safe [3,4]. However, these medications are only safe when used as directed. This perception that OTC medications are safe is a problem because risks of self-medication include incorrect self-diagnosis, delays in seeking medical treatment, incorrect medication choice, masking of a severe disease, and the risk of dependence or abuse [5].

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