Over the counter ophthalmic drug misuse, are we aware?
Kadri, R.; Hegde, S.; Kudva, A.A. and Achar, A. (2010) Over the counter ophthalmic drug misuse, are we aware? Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences, 9 (2). ISSN 0972-5997
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Aim: To investigate the misuse of ‘over the counter’ ophthalmic medications in our city. Method: Responses of a structured questionnaire covering various aspects of over the counter drug use was obtained from pharmacy workers in and around our city. Results: Eighty nine pharmacy workers took part in this cross–sectional study. An average number of seven patients per day with ophthalmic complaints were seen by the pharmacy workers. Dispensing over the counter was practiced by 89.9% of the pharmacists. The most common complaint of the patients visiting the pharmacy, was redness and itching (86.5%). Antibiotics (96.6%) were the most common eye drops dispensed over the counter, followed by steroids (55.1%), decongestants (54.1%), antibiotic-steroid combination eye drops (29.2%) and lubricants (16.8%). Awareness regarding complications of steroid use was seen in 40.6% of pharmacists. 6.7% pharmacists had seen patients with complications following use of over the counter medications. In our study, majority of the eye drops dispensed were prescription drugs. Conclusion: Availability of prescription eye drops over the counter is an immense public threat. Educating the pharmacist and the population can decrease ocular morbidity. Research into methods to effectively deal with over-the-counter drug misuse is required and law can be enforced based on the findings.
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