The use of non-prescription medicines by general practitioner attendees

G. Urquhart, Hazel Kathryn Sinclair, Philip Christopher Hannaford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose Against a background of increasing availability and use of non-prescription medicines, this study set out to explore: use of such medicines by patients seeing their general practitioner (GP); frequency of GP enquiry about such use; and frequency of recommendations to use a non-prescription medicine.

Method Patients attending four general practices in Aberdeen, Scotland, completed separate questionnaires (before and after seeing their GP).

Results Some 461 individuals waiting to see their GP were invited to participate: 427 (93%) completed the pre-consultation questionnaire and 305 (71% of questionnaires issued) completed the post-consultation questionnaire. Almost half (45%) of all participants reported using non-prescription medicines in the 7 days prior to visiting their doctor; with 20% of the medicines purchased from non-pharmacy retail outlets. Thirteen per cent of participants were asked about their use of non-prescribed medicines by their GP. Eight per cent of participants were recommended to use a non-prescription medicine by their GP.

Conclusion Although there was a high level of recent use of non-prescribed medicines by the general practice attenders, relatively few reported being asked about such use, or were recommended to use such medicines by their GP. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-779
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • general practice attenders
  • non-prescription medicines
  • medicine use
  • general practitioners
  • non-prescription medicine enquiries
  • non-prescription medicine recommendations


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