The first two parts of this series dealt with the influences that operate when consumers evaluate episodes of ill health and the factors that govern their actions in response. The decision to self manage minor disease rather than consult a healthcare professional is the result of a complex interplay of influences including experience, confidence and access to information.
Once a person has decided to self manage such illness, a popular option is to use one of the growing number of Over the Counter (OTC) medicines available for self-medication. The safe use of non-prescription medicines, often without access to a health care professional, is reliant on the quality of the information provided with the treatment as well as the beliefs and abilities of the individual to utilize this information.
In part three of this series, two aspects relating to OTC medicine use are discussed. One, label-comprehension, is an area that has been addressed fairly frequently in the literature while the other, public perceptions of OTC medicines, has received less attention. Then, this final part of the series attempts to draw together the evidence from all three reviews in answering the question ‘Can the general population be expected to self-medicate effectively?’
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