The availability of over-the-counter (OTC) omeprazole raises the question whether consumers can use OTC omeprazole appropriately in a "real world" setting.
Physicians from the United States conducted a 3-month observational study.
The team determined whether consumers could self-select to use omeprazole for frequent heartburn, comply with the dosing directions, and use >14 doses of medication only under the advice of a physician.
The team interviewed consumers at 5 shopping malls in geographically distinct areas of the United States and asked whether they had heartburn.
They identified 1999 self-reported heartburn sufferers. Of these, 866 determined OTC omeprazole was appropriate for their condition and purchased the product.
A total of 758 consumers returned diaries documenting product usage and physician contact.
|43% of subjects did not have heartburn recurrence.|
|Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
The physicians determined that OTC consumers accurately self-selected.
In addition, diary analysis showed a high degree of compliance to label use directions. Only 3% took more than 14 doses without consulting a physician.
The team found that after 3 months, 43% of subjects did not have heartburn recurrence.
Overall, 75% of subjects had contact with a physician about heartburn before, during, or soon after the study.
Dr Mark Fendrick's team concluded, "Consumers accurately self-select if an OTC proton pump inhibitor is appropriate for use, comply with a 14-day regimen in the OTC setting, and appropriately seek physician involvement for longer-term management of frequent heartburn".