Investigation of social, demographic and health variations in the usage of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines within a large cohort (South Yorkshire, UK)
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© 2016 Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. Objectives Prescribed and over-the-counter (non-prescribed) medicine usage has increased in recent years; however, there has been less investigation of the socioeconomic predictors of use. This has been due to a l ack of data, especially for over-the-counter medicines. Our study aims to understand how prescribed and over-the-counter medicine patterns vary by demographic, social and health characteristics within a large population cohort. Design Cross-sectional data analysis. Setting South Yorkshire, UK. Participants 27 806 individuals from wave 1 of the Yorkshire Health Study (2010-2012). Measures Individuals self-reported each medicine they were taking and whether each was prescribed or not. The medicines were grouped into 14 categories (eg, cardiovascular system, infection, contraception). Negative binomial regression models were used to analyse the count of medicine usage. We included demographic (age, gender, ethnicity), social (education), health-related (body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity) factors and chronic health conditions (eg, stroke, anxiety and heart disease) in our analyses. Results 49% of men and 62% of women were taking medicine with the majority of this prescribed (88% and 83%, respectively). Health conditions were found to be positively associated with prescribed medicine usage, but mixed in their associated with over-the-counter medicines. Educational attainment was negatively associated with prescribed and positively associated with over-the-counter usage. Conclusions Our study addresses a dearth of evidence to provide new insights into how behaviours in medicine usage vary by demographic, social and health-related factors. Differences in over-the-counter medicine usage by educational attainment may help our understanding of the determinants of health inequalities.
AuthorsGreen, MA; Little, E; Cooper, R; Relton, C; Strong, M
- Population Health