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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Diabetes news: NPA study has implications for diabetics

By Simon Gray

A new study carried out by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) reveals that 20% of people in the UK believe that taking occasional breaks from a regular drug treatment for a long-term condition can be beneficial. In reality, such medicine 'detoxes' can in fact pose a serious health risk. The implications for people with asthma, depression, or diabetes can be especially dangerous, the NPA has warned.

The study also found that almost a third of people in the UK don't think there is anything wrong with taking non-prescription medicines that were recommended based on someone else's symptoms. There are risks associated with this, however. Some parents believe it is safe to give a reduced dosage of adult medication to children for conditions like the common cold, for instance, but this is often not the case.

A number of other misconceptions were identified in the NPA survey. 25% of people wrongly believe aspirin is simply a weaker form of ibuprofen, and 50% think the influenza vaccine can itself cause flu. The NPA said this myth regarding the flu vaccine has been around for a long time, and that it may be preventing those who are at risk from getting vaccinated.

The fact that drugs only work properly within a certain timeframe was also lost on 10% of respondents who said they never bother looking at expiry dates on their medication.

Leyla Hannbeck, the NPA's head of information, said that there is a lack of understanding amongst the general public about how medicines work in the body, and said it was vital that people get the right advice and treatment. She said that the impact of diabetics, asthmatics and those suffering from depression 'detoxing' from drug treatments could be 'catastrophic'.

The study was published to coincide with the launch of Ask Your Pharmacist Week - an event designed to promote awareness of the expert advice and services available from pharmacies.

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