Association of maternal self-medication and over-the-counter analgesics for children

Janne Fangel Jensen, Mathilde Gottschau, Volkert Dirk Siersma, Anette Hauskov Graungaard, Bjørn Evald Holstein, Lisbeth Ehlert Knudsen

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVE: Self-medication with over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics, such as paracetamol (PCM), among children and adolescents is increasing and constitutes an important public health issue internationally. Reasons for this development are unclear; parental influence is suggested. Our objective was to examine whether self-medication with OTC analgesics among school-aged children is influenced by maternal self-reported health and medicine use, taking the child's frequency of pain into account.

    METHODS: A quantitative cross-sectional survey was conducted on 131 children aged 6 to 11 years and their mothers in the framework of the Demonstration Of A Study To Coordinate And Perform Human Biomonitoring On A European Scale (DEMOCOPHES) European project. Participants were selected from 1 urban and 1 rural area of Denmark, and equally distributed in age and gender. Data were collected through structured interviews with all children and self-report questionnaires for mothers regarding health, pain, and medicine use.

    RESULTS: After adjusting for several sociodemographic and health parameters, maternal use of OTC analgesics was significantly associated with self-medication with OTC analgesics, particularly PCM, in our population of schoolchildren, even when the child's pain was adjusted for (odds ratio 3.00, P = .008). A clear association between child pain and OTC analgesic use was not found. Additionally, maternal health (self-rated health, chronic pain, chronic disease, daily medicine intake) did not significantly influence child use of OTC analgesics.

    CONCLUSIONS: Maternal self-medication with OTC analgesics is associated with self-medication of OTC analgesics, predominantly PCM, among school-aged children, perhaps more than the child's pain. Maternal health seems of less importance. Information to parents about pain self-management is important to promote appropriate PCM use among schoolchildren.

    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)e291-8
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


    • Acetaminophen
    • Analgesics
    • Child
    • Cross-Sectional Studies
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Mothers
    • Nonprescription Drugs
    • Questionnaires
    • Retrospective Studies
    • Self Medication


    Dive into the research topics of 'Association of maternal self-medication and over-the-counter analgesics for children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this