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.