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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 23:03 GMT 00:03 UK
Young people 'ignore medicine advice'
Young people often do not listen to pharmacists' advice
Young people often do not listen to pharmacists' advice
Young people are risking their health by failing to follow instructions on how to take medicines, say pharmacists.

A survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) showed over 50% of 18-39 year-olds stop taking medication before they have completed the course.

People failed to follow advice on when and how to take medication.

A third failed to stick to instructions they had been given on not drinking alcohol while taking their medicines.

In addition, some medicines should only be taken after meals and some should not be taken while driving.

Young people need to take a responsibility for their health and their medications

Dr Gill Hawksworth,
Pharmacists warn ignoring advice on drinking or drowsiness could lead to accidents.

Some also say the mobile phone is a major culprit, with people chatting to friends while they collect their medications instead of listening to the advice of the pharmacists.

Young men are the worst at listening to advice about over-the-counter or prescription drugs, according to the survey.

They were also the most likely to fail to mention any other medication they were taking.

But women of all ages are least likely to complete their course of medication.

'The older the better'

The survey, which quizzed around 200 people, showed that as people got older, they were more likely to take notice of what their pharmacist told them, with the over-60s following instructions most consistently.

And across the age ranges, only 55% always followed all the instructions they were given.

The rest ignored some of the instructions some of the time.

Dr Gill Hawksworth, vice president of the RPS, told BBC News Online: "Young people need to take a responsibility for their health and taking their medications.

"This is a problem I see among the young people who come into my pharmacy.

"When we're talking to them about their prescription, their mobile phone goes, and then they don't listen to what you say."

She added there were a wide range of reasons why 18-39 year-olds failed to pay attention.

While teenagers may simply not listen, young mums follow information about medication for their children - but not for themselves.

A spokeswoman for the Doctor Patient Partnership, a health education charity, said there was a problem with young people finishing courses of medication.

She said antibiotics caused particular problems, because people stopped taking them because they felt better, not realising they are less effective if the course is not completed.

She added: "Young people should not be ashamed, or think it's 'uncool' to ask the pharmacist or doctor for advice."

See also:

16 Jul 01 | Health
Medicine help for NHS patients
18 Aug 01 | Health
Patients hit by chemist shortages
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