What Over the Counter (OTC) products are patients using at home?

Mr Kyrillos Guirguis1

1PharmaceuCare, Tarneit, Australia



To understand the types of OTC products used by patients who are referred for HMRs.


HMR medication lists were retrospectively analysed. These lists were completed as part of HMR home visits (Jan 2013-June 2015). Descriptive statistical analysis was employed to understand the types of OTC products patients were using at the time of HMR visits by the pharmacist.


HMRs were offered to 114 patients, referred by 4 GPs from 3 different medical centres, geographically spread around metropolitan Melbourne. 97 patients (85%) were using OTC products. They used 277 OTC products, including combination products, averaging 2.9 products per patient. These products contained 425 active ingredients, averaging 4.4 active ingredients per patient. Analgesics accounted for 26% of the products used, and 62% of patients were using OTC analgesics. Vitamins/electrolytes accounted for 48% of OTC products and were used by 40% of patients.

Significance of the findings to allied health

Allied health clinicians have the opportunity to ask patients about their use of OTC products, and to refer them for further management by their GP/pharmacist. The current model of HMRs needs significant refinement. It should enable allied health professionals to make direct referrals to consultant pharmacists, when they suspect patients need support on the use of OTC products to treat their ailments. This expands the role of allied heath clinicians, and makes the existing HMR service more effective and sustainable.


Kyrillos is a practising consultant pharmacist with extensive clinical experience. He is the Principal Consultant Pharmacist at PharmaceuCare, and Manager, Performance & Quality at MCCC GP Training. He is affiliated with the School of Medicine (UTAS) as a casual academic. Kyrillos has valuable research experience, having managed various research projects that led to publications in international peer-reviewed journals. He is a reviewer for Patient Education & Counselling and the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. He has years of experience in education, and has published two books: Successful Online Study and Community to Hospital Pharmacy: making the transition! to support pharmacists’ professional development and career progression. Kyrillos is ultimately passionate about the quality use of medicines, aiming to optimise health outcomes for patients with chronic disease.