A pilot study of decision factors influencing over-the-counter medication selection and use by older adults
Stone JA, Phelan CH, Holden RJ, Jacobson N, Chui MA. A pilot study of decision factors influencing over-the-counter medication selection and use by older adults. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020;16(8):1117-1120.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Despite their availability without prescription, OTC medications pose a risk for significant harm for older adults due to higher likelihood of polypharmacy, drug interactions, and age-related physiological changes. The purpose of this study is to identify the individual decision factors that influence how older adults select and use over-the-counter medications.
METHODS: A pilot study was conducted with 20 community-dwelling older adults. Older adults met the interviewer at a regional mass merchandise store where they were given both pain and insomnia standardized scenarios. Participants described how they would select and then hypothetically use a given medication to treat the problem described in the scenario.
RESULTS: OTC medication selection and reported use were influenced by several person-level decision-making factors including: personal beliefs/knowledge about OTCs, assessment of the ailment, and medical constraints.
CONCLUSION: The findings from this investigation provide direction for interventions to address unsafe OTC medication selection by older adults.