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Pain Management

Self-medication with painkillers allows us to take on everyday life while keeping minor aches and pains at bay

In most instances, they are very easily accessible and can even be bought at supermarket checkouts in some European countries. Despite their accessibility, painkillers quite literally should not be taken lightly.

88 percent believe they have good health knowledge

Health literacy is a crucial cornerstone of prevention: if people are unaware of what is considered “normal”, then how would they know when to consult a professional and seek help? Generally, 1 in 4 Europeans say they are “very knowledgeable” when it comes to health topics, 63 percent would attest themselves mediocre knowledge and 12 percent confess they do not know very much about it.



Woman looking ill with a thermometer in her hand

Among the most confident in their abilities are Serbia, where 37 percent think they have very good health knowledge, the Netherlands (30) and Romania (29). On the other end of the spectrum, France (18) and Kazakhstan (16) have the biggest share of people who consider their health knowledge sub-par.

1 in 4 Europeans regularly self-medicate with painkillers

1 in 4 Europeans are frequent users of painkillers, with 18 percent taking them weekly, and 7 percent even reach for them on a daily basis. In the UK, painkillers are used most often with 35 percent of the population relying on them at least weekly, followed by Poland (33) and the Netherlands (32). The most common ailments for which people use painkillers are headaches (63), toothaches (41) and back pain (32).


Dangerous half-knowledge about painkillers

As it turns out, there is a significant, and frankly, dangerous false sense of confidence when it comes to their characteristics. 



"Almost 1 in 2 Europeans are unaware of ASS’ blood-thinning properties"



One of them concerns Acetylsalicylic acid (ASS), an ingredient often used to treat headaches, for example: almost 1 in 2 Europeans (47) are unaware of its blood-thinning properties, which in turn can lead to complications for certain risk groups, in medical treatment or when combined with other types of medication.

42 percent also falsely believe paracetamol to have anti-inflammatory attributes. The majority however correctly identify it as fever-reducing (80), and know of ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory (67) and fever-reducing (61) qualities.

Woman holding a flannel to her head in low light