BACKGROUND: Effective use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications depends on purchasers-- knowledge of their indications. This study examines consumer knowledge regarding the urinary tract analgesic phenazopyridine, which recently became available without prescription. METHOD: The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of a stratified cluster random sample of purchasers of OTC phenazopyridine (N = 434) in 31 Los Angeles retail pharmacies. RESULTS: The response rate was 58%. Only 29% correctly characterized the likely cause of their symptoms, and only 57% correctly characterized the action of the drug. Worse consumer knowledge was associated with nonwhite race, first-time use, and less contact with health providers. CONCLUSION: Many consumers possess poor knowledge about phenazopyridine, potentially leading to undertreatment, especially in groups with worse access to care
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