European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 173, Issue 9, pp 1147–1155 | Cite as

Socio-economic differences in use of prescribed and over-the-counter medicine for pain and psychological problems among Danish adolescents—a longitudinal study

  • Mette Jorgine Kirkeby
  • Claus Dalsgaard Hansen
  • Johan Hviid Andersen
Original Article


The objective for this study was to investigate socio-economic status (SES) differentials in the use of over-the-counter and prescribed medicine for pain and psychological problems among adolescents. Data consisted of questionnaire data on medicine use and health status, collected from 17- to 18-year-old adolescents (n = 2,400) during second round of the West Jutland cohort study 2007, and register data on prescribed medicine use, parental educational level and household income. We used multiple logistic regression analysis to calculate odd ratios for self-reported and register-based use of medicine for pain and psychological problems according to parental educational level and household income. Young girls used twice as much medicine for pain and psychological problems compared to young boys. SES differences based on parental educational level were directly associated with the use of prescribed medicine for psychological problems, and SES differences based on household income were directly associated with overall medicine use and use of over-the-counter medicine. Some of the SES differentials disappeared or decreased after adjusting for health status. There were no SES differentials in the use of prescribed medicine for pain. Conclusion: The risk of use of prescribed medicine for psychological problems increased in adolescents with decreasing parental education, while the risk of overall medicine use and use of over-the-counter medicine was increased in adolescents from low household income. Furthermore, the results indicate that some of the SES differentials in medicine use could be explained by a difference in health status across SES.


Youth Medication Socio-economic status Cohort study Register data 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mette Jorgine Kirkeby
    • 1
  • Claus Dalsgaard Hansen
    • 2
  • Johan Hviid Andersen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Occupational MedicineRegional Hospital HerningHerningDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Social WorkAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  3. 3.Danish Ramazzini Centre, Department of Occupational MedicineRegional Hospital, HerningHerningDenmark

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