ANSM warns about the proper use of drugs

Along with the British and the Germans, the French are among the biggest consumers of medicines in Europe. All the more reason to inform them of the proper use of therapies. The National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) is launching an information campaign on the proper use of medicines on Wednesday, June 7. A “major public health issue, an individual issue because misuse can have a deleterious impact for the patient and a social issue with a human and economic cost as a consequence”underlined Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, the director general of the ANSM, during a press conference, Tuesday, June 6.

Dose, frequency, duration of treatment, prescription, interaction, storage… The idea is to make the general public aware that if drugs are everyday products, they are not products like any other. Hence the message: “Medicines are not ordinary products, do not take them lightly”, which will be declined through four visuals, video and audio messages on the Internet, YouTube and social networks. This time, the ANSM is targeting all populations; in June 2021, she launched a campaign aimed at pregnant women.

To support her message, Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil revealed the results of a survey entitled “Uses and behaviors relating to the prescription, dispensing and taking of medication” carried out in 2022 by Viavoice for the ANSM. We learn that three out of ten French people adapt themselves the dose or the duration of taking the drugs that have been prescribed to them, that one in five takes higher doses or several drugs at the same time to relieve symptoms more quickly. Nearly one in two French people give medicine to a loved one because they have the same symptoms and it is even one in ten who do it systematically or often. A potentially dangerous gesture in certain cases: ibuprofen or aspirin are, for example, prohibited in several categories of people, in particular pregnant women.

“Perceived as an ordinary product”

Two out of three French people also keep unused medicines for next time. Finally, 34% consider it rather risky or not risky at all to take a drug whose use-by date has expired. However, an expired or poorly preserved product can lose its effectiveness or be contaminated by bacteria.

Among young people aged 18 to 24, one in three forgets to take their medication and one in five takes higher doses or uses several medications at the same time. “There is a real need to understand what a drug is and what it is not”insists Ratignier-Carbonneil.

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