2015-10-01Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1186/s40360-015-0028-7
Prevalence, trends, patterns and associations of analgesic use in Germany
Buttery, Amanda K.
Rosario, Angelika Schaffrath
Background: Despite the public health relevance of analgesic use, large-scale studies on this topic in Germany are lacking. This study describes the prevalence, trends, associations and patterns of use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics, focusing on five of the most common agents: aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen and paracetamol. Methods: Data from two representative population-based surveys: The German National Health Interview and Examination Survey 1998 (GNHIES98 n = 7099) and the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults 2008–2011 (DEGS1 n = 7091) was investigated. Information on all medicines consumed in the previous 7 days was collected via computer-assisted personal interviews with adults aged 18–79 years. Associations between analgesic use and socio-demographic and health-behaviour factors were analysed using logistic regression models. Results: Analgesic use has increased over the last decade from 19 to 21 %. This was exclusively due to the rise in OTC analgesic use from 10.0 to 12.2 %. Prescribed analgesic use remained constant (7.9 %). Findings from DEGS1 indicate that ibuprofen is the most commonly used analgesic followed by aspirin and paracetamol. OTC analgesic use is higher among women and smokers, but lower among older adults (65–79 years). Prescribed analgesics use is higher among women, older adults, smokers and obese adults with medium or high socio- economic status. Adults performing more than 2 h/week of physical exercise use fewer analgesics. Discussion: Among the adult population of Germany, the prevalence of OTC analgesic use has significantly increased over the last decade. We found differences between adults consuming OTC and prescribed analgesics (or both) concerning their health behaviour and health conditions. International direct comparison between prevalence rates of analgesic use was limited due to varying availability of analgesics between countries and to methodological differences. Conclusions: About one in five community dwelling adults aged 18–79 years in Germany use analgesics in a given week. Considering the potential harms of analgesic use, monitoring of prevalence, patterns and determinants of use at the population level are important steps to inform disease prevention and health promotion policies.
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