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    Pediatricians trust OTC medications for kids

    Nearly 90% of pediatricians approve of over-the-counter (OTC) medications as first-line treatment for minor illnesses in children, and 80% will recommend OTC medications to relieve symptoms of colds and flu, pain, allergies, or acid reflux before writing a prescription for pediatric patients, says a new survey.

    The findings also show that pediatricians first decide whether an OTC medication is safe to give to children aged younger than 18 years and also whether it will work consistently and be as effective as a prescription drug.

    The survey, sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, questioned health care providers including pediatricians, primary care physicians, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners about 20 factors that determine their trust in OTC medicines.

    Primary care physicians, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners express similar trust factors: 98% of primary care physicians, 97% of pharmacists, and 98% of nurse practitioners either recommend or have no reservations recommending OTC medications to their patients, and 75%, 66%, and 70%, respectively, will advise using OTC medicines without first recommending a prescription drug for treatment. Only about 1% of health care providers say they are reluctant to recommend OTC medicines to their patients.

    Nonprescription medications save the US health care system an estimated $102 billion each year, according to the survey. The total amount includes both drug cost savings through the use of less expensive OTC medications compared with prescriptions and clinical cost savings from office visits and diagnostic tests that are avoided.

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