Objective: To investigate consumers’ knowledge about commonly purchased over-the-counter
(OTC) products containing ibuprofen.
Methods: Customers buying two popular OTC ibuprofen-containing products (Nurofen or
Nurofen Plus) were asked to complete a short survey assessing their knowledge about the
Results: The survey was completed by 262 respondents, most of whom were older than 50 years
of age; female; well-educated; with adequate functional health literacy. The majority correctly
identified ibuprofen as an active ingredient and knew the correct intervals between doses.
However, almost a third couldn’t correctly identify the maximum daily dose and were unaware
of some contraindications. Furthermore, fewer than half recognised potential side effects. Those
who hadn’t completed high school were significantly less likely to seek medical advice (when
required) and significantly less likely to know when it was safe to take these products.
Conclusions: The gaps in consumer knowledge, especially about the maximum daily dose,
contraindications and potential side effects may be placing consumers at risk of experiencing
ibuprofen-related adverse events.
Implications for Public Health: Improving consumer knowledge to address these gaps in
their understanding about the safe use of popular OTC ibuprofen-containing products is an
important public health concern.