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Pain Manag. 2019 Jul 1;9(4):379-387. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2018-0092. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Frequency, nature and management of patient-reported severe acute pain episodes in the over-the-counter setting: results of an online survey.

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Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare International Ltd, 103-105 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 3UH, UK.


Aim: Understand the frequency, nature and over-the-counter (OTC) self-management of patient-reported severe acute pain occasions. Patients & methods: A consumer-based survey of adults experiencing acute pain in Australia, Russia and the UK. Participants recorded pain type, frequency and intensity plus action taken to address pain. Results: A total of 2994 participants completed the survey; 1366 provided ≥1 diary entry (total 6527 pain occasions). Of these, 744 (11%) were reported as severe, and 72% were treated with OTC medication. Participants were somewhat satisfied/very satisfied with the action taken for 87% of pain occasions overall, and for 83% of severe pain episodes; however, participants with severe pain were somewhat/very dissatisfied with treatment in 9% of cases. Conclusion: Acute pain episodes described as 'severe' are not uncommon in the self-management setting; most can be managed successfully with self-medication. Individuals seeking strong OTC pain relief should be supported to consider self-management strategies first, before considering prescription medication.


acetaminophen; acute pain; analgesics; ibuprofen; primary healthcare

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