March 2012
Volume 53, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   March 2012
The Prevalence of Non Prescription Medication Use
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hema Sugumaran
    Ophthalmology, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, New York
  • Allison Angelilli
    Ophthalmology, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, New York
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Hema Sugumaran, None; Allison Angelilli, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 2012, Vol.53, 1425. doi:
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      Hema Sugumaran, Allison Angelilli; The Prevalence of Non Prescription Medication Use. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1425.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : Non prescription medications are commonly used, yet poorly disclosed to the physician. Use of such medications place patients at increased risk of adverse reactions and drug-drug interactions. It is especially important for surgeons to account for all of the medications their patients are taking because of potential coagulation, blood pressure, and cardiovascular effects.The purpose of our study is to determine the prevalence of non prescription medication use in our ophthalmology patient population, determine which medications are most prevalent, and improve the safety and quality of care provided to our patients.

Methods: : A cross-sectional study was performed in which we surveyed comprehensive and subspecialty ophthalmology patients in an academic center which primarily serves Medicaid beneficiaries or those without insurance. Patients that presented to our clinic between April 25th, 2011 and May 20th, 2011 were given a survey entitled "Ophthalmology Medication Questionnaire," which included 22 commonly used non prescription medications divided into "Over the Counter," "Herbal," and "Vitamin and Supplement" categories. Additional space was given to submit any unlisted medications. Patients were instructed to check yes next to the medication if it had been taken within the previous 2 week period. Children under the age of one were excluded.

Results: : 47 patients completed the survey. Patients ranged between 1 and 87 years old with a mean of 36 years. 45% were female (21 of 47) and 55% were male (26 of 47). 57% (27 of 47) responded yes to one of the medications or filled in another medication in the "other" section. Of those who reported use, 44% stated use of more than one medication (12 of 27). The average age of non prescription medication users was 42. 62% of the female patients (13 of 21) reported use compared to 54% of the male patients (14 of 26). The most commonly used medications were ibuprofen, aspirin and green tea.

Conclusions: : Non prescription medication use is common in our patient population. The average age of the patient who used non prescription medication was higher than the average age who completed the survey. More female patients reported use than male patients. Our patients most commonly used ibuprofen, aspirin, and green tea, all of which have been shown to increase risk of bleeding. We recommend ophthalmologists obtain this information from patients in order improve their safety and quality of care.

Keywords: clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: prevalence/incidence • drug toxicity/drug effects • nutritional factors 

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