top of page
Original Article
Year: 2024 I Volume: 6 I Issue: 1 I Pages I 1-6

Use patterns of over the counter analgesics in adult population in United Arab Emirates: A Population Based Study

Hajir Abdulbari1, Hadeel Alaa1, Inas Mohammed1, Najah Najeh1, Mirza Baig1, Khedidja Hedna2*

1 Dubai Pharmacy College for Girls, Muhaisanah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2 Hamdan Bin Mohamed Smart University, Academic City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

* Corresponding Author:

Khedidja Hedna: PhD MSc Pham MPH

Email address:

Source of funding:  None


Conflict of interest: None

Submission date: 11 January 2024

Acceptance date:  1 March 2024

Get permission for commercial use.

Key words: United Arab Emirates, Pharmacoepidemiology, Survey study, Analgesics, Over the counter medications


Background: Analgesics are among the most commonly used over the counter (OTC) medications and are widely available. Yet, their use patterns are not well documented. This study aimed to assess the self-use of OTC analgesics and use patterns in the adult population of the United Arab Emirates. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted in Dubai and Sharjah Emirates among adults aged 18 years and over who were not from healthcare professions. We further conducted a multivariable logistic regression to investigate the factors associated with the use of paracetamol as OTC analgesic. Results: In total, 604 individuals fulfilled the inclusion criteria and answered the survey. Overall, 350 of respondents (58%) were women. The most commonly used analgesic was paracetamol either alone or in combination (n=459, 76%); headache was the main cause for use. Most respondents self-used OTC analgesics less than once a month (n=332, 55%). The majority of respondents (n=314, 52%) never read the patient information leaflets and one-tenth reported taking more than two tablets at once. Use of paracetamol was less common in men compared to women (adjusted odd ratio (aOR) 0.57, 95% confidence Interval (CI) 0.40-0.83) while it was more common in persons with a chronic condition (aOR 1.69, 95%CI 1.15-2.49). Conclusion: Considering that paracetamol and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used and easily available in retail sales and online, and since most users do not read the patient information leaflets, pharmacists can have an important role in educating patients for the rational use of OTC analgesics and to avoid their overuse.

bottom of page