Patient characteristics among users of analgesic over-the-counter aspirin in a Danish pharmacy setting

Int J Clin Pharm. 2014 Aug;36(4):693-6. doi: 10.1007/s11096-014-9968-z. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


Background: Use of over-the-counter (OTC) high-dose acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is a risk factor for experiencing gastric bleeding. However, more detailed knowledge on the characteristics of users of OTC ASA is needed.

Objective: To characterise users of OTC high-dose ASA in a Danish pharmacy setting.

Method: We conducted an interview based survey among users of OTC high-dose ASA. Questions were asked regarding: (1) demographic characteristics; (2) use patterns; (3) knowledge about adverse events; (4) risk factors for experiencing gastric bleeding; (5) reasons for choosing an ASA-containing medicine; and (6) whether their GP was informed on their use of high-dose ASA.

Results: One-hundred-seventeen interviews were completed. Nineteen percent and 37 % used high-dose ASA on a daily or weekly basis respectively. Sixty-eighth percent found high-dose ASA to be more effective than other analgesics. Fourty-seven percent had one or more risk factors for experiencing ulcer bleeding, most commonly age >60 years (32 %) and previous peptic ulcer (9 %). The most well-known adverse events were abdominal pain (32 %) and peptic ulcer (26 %). The most common source of information was friends and family (32 %).

Conclusion: A large proportion of users of high-dose ASA have risk factors for experiencing gastric bleeding. Health-care professionals needs to provide more information on potential adverse events.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage
  • Aspirin / adverse effects*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonprescription Drugs / administration & dosage
  • Nonprescription Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Medication Knowledge*
  • Peptic Ulcer / chemically induced
  • Peptic Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Pharmacies
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Medication / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Aspirin