Reducing the use of analgesics in general practice: Evaluation of a health education programme

M. A. Weingarten, A. Ziderman, J. Hart, H. Enav, S. Ahiron, B. Politi

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Analgesic prescribing in general practice contributes to widespread overuse of these drugs. An educational intervention programme was designed and tested in a practice with high prescribing rates. The programme included two features, medical update for staff and promotional messages to the public. Physician prescribing, pharmacy dispensing, and patient knowledge as assessed by questionnaire were used to evaluate the intervention. Four thousand five hundred patients were under the care of doctors who attended the update and 3,000 were under doctors who did not attend and thus formed a comparison group. A significant fall in prescribing was found in the updated group only. Non-prescription dispensing of analgesics increased. There was insignificant change in patient knowledge, since the level of knowledge about the items chosen for promotion was high even before the programme. The efficacy of update in changing physician behaviour was demonstrated, but public health promotion programmes should be more carefully matched to the target population if they are to succeed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1988


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