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Research Article

Use and understanding of analgesics (painkillers) by Aston university students

Sandeep Kaur Golar

Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK


30 Jun 2010


1 Feb 2011


1 Mar 2011






analgesics, paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, ibuprofen, codeine


Reports in the popular and scientific media demonstrate a degree of uncertainty about the beneficial and harmful effects of analgesics. This, together with the hectic student lifestyle, can potentially lead to confusion and misuse of certain over-the-counter (OTC) (non-prescribed) drugs, such as analgesics. Fifty structured interviews were performed to investigate whether students consume analgesics safely and with a good understanding of their adverse effects. Of 50 students, only 27 (54.0%) consumed analgesics, and none were chronic users. Paracetamol was the most commonly used analgesic. Slight differences in knowledge were evident between users and non-users; students who did not use analgesics gained slightly higher and statistically significant scores on the knowledge-based questions in the interview, than those who did use analgesics (P = 0.040). Gender differences were apparent: females demonstrated a significantly higher consumption of analgesics than males. Though it was not statistically significant, males showed slightly higher analgesic knowledge than females. Students demonstrated some basic knowledge and awareness of analgesics. However, they lacked understanding of risks, contraindications and of the type of analgesic contained in popular brands. Further investigation of such relationships could enhance our knowledge of analgesic use by the UK student population, but based on the present sample there are limited causes for concern.

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