Tweens Get Failing Grade In Their Knowledge On Safe Use Of Over The Counter Medications

Results from two recent national surveys indicate a significant knowledge gap in OTC medicine safety by tweens across the U.S.

When testing tweens' knowledge about the safe use of OTC medicines, they got a failing grade:

  • Tweens answered just 37 percent of questions correctly when asked how to use OTC medicines responsibly.
    • Only about half, or 54 percent, of tweens surveyed know OTC medicine can be dangerous when misused.
    • On the flip side, parents tend to overestimate their tween's knowledge, believing their tweens know who to ask if they have a question about medicine (75 percent), whether or not it's OK to share OTC medicine with friends (73 percent) and the risks of not using OTC medicines as directed (68 percent).
  • When asked about the differences between prescription and OTC medicines, tweens answered just 56 percent of questions correctly.
    • 67 percent of tweens surveyed incorrectly believe they can use someone else's prescription medicines if he or she has the same symptoms.
    • Parent assumptions of tween knowledge was similar to tween test results, with 58 percent believing their tween would understand the difference between prescription and OTC medicines.
  • When tested on how to read a Drug Facts label correctly, tweens only answered 53 percent of the questions correctly.
    • Just 31 percent of tweens surveyed know it is not safe to take more medicine than what is directed on the label.
    • And 50 percent of parents admit they don't believe their tween knows how to read a Drug Facts label on an OTC medicine.
  • Tweens correctly answered only 49 percent of questions relating to safe storage of medicines.
    • 52 percent of parents surveyed admit they don't believe their tween knows how to safely store medicines.
on teaching tweens about safe use of OTC's
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