Self-medication, Internet health… The behavior has changed
Explosion of internet, reimbursable medicines, care… For 10 years, the health of the French habits have changed. To assess developments in self-medication and the use of internet health, Opinion Way compares two investigations in 2000 and 2010.
The French have more recourse to self-medication? For what reasons? Is the quality of the information found on the web satisfactory? Have their expectations and habits on the health internet evolved?
Self-medication has increased in 10 years
In 2000, 79 per cent of the 1,000 people interviewed by the polls Opinion Way Institute declared “treat themselves” occasionally or frequently. In 2010, this practice is more French (85%), especially women.
This increase can probably be explained by free sale (“free access”) of 200 drugs since the summer 2008. Influenced the reimbursable (156 drug déremboursés in 2006) and declining reimbursements (down 20% for the refund of 150 drugs in April 2010) probably on the spending habits of health products.
The public authorities and internet, key levers of self-medication
The advertisements for the medicinal products concerned (television, press) were in 2000 the main lever of the self-medication, for 50% of the respondents. Today, it is rather the initiatives of the public authorities (44% of the interviewees): awareness campaigns, prevention, information, etc.
Specialized health websites are now the second lever of self-medication, for 30% of Internet users (compared to 9% in 2000). A logical consequence of their growing web presence and the democratization of the use of the internet.
Analgesics, star of self-medication
In 2010, the French resorted to self-medication primarily for pain, fever, headache (85%), sore throat, allergic rhinitis, colds, cough (79%), or even stomach pains, digestive disorders (42%) and skin problems (39%). Followed by oral health concerns (38%), fatigue (34%), blood circulation problems (16%), gynecological products (15%) and Nicotinic substitutes (5%).
Logically, it is therefore the Doliprane ®, analgesic paracetamol-based, which is the most popular drug: 7 French on 10 bought without a prescription in the year! In the second position, the Biafine ® (56%), cream known for its effectiveness against burns. Come then theEfferalgan ® (54%), Betadine ® (32%),Actifed ® (32%), etc.
Internet health, an important tool but to use correctly
In 2000, those interviewed by Opinion Way essentially saw the internet as a tool of necessary information (84%), a tool for better understanding of treatment (77%) and facilitation of the relationship with health professionals.
Ten years later, these three items always arrive at the top, but the percentages are down. In addition, people “completely in agreement” with the proposal “Internet is a necessary complementary tool the health” are twice fewer (16% vs. 32%). In addition, 16% (vs. 3% in 2000) now believe that this health information is too large, especially the 50-59 years.
Most alarming: in 2010, 18% of the respondents (12% in 2000) say that “with the Internet, they will increasingly see the doctor at the last moment” and 12% (5% in 2000) say that “the internet they range from less doctor”, which may concern delays in diagnosis. Yet Doctissimo, as most health sites, offer information and not a pathology diagnosis: these sites are not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation and should not delay. Attention, any delay diagnosis or misinterpretation of symptoms may be prejudicial.
Less enthusiasm because of the commonality of the use of the internet?
Access to “information on common diseases” and “to his medical records”, use “a warning by e-mail system” and “a system of risk assessment” are the main expectations of the respondents. However, these expectations are less unanimity: a significant decrease of those interested or very interested in these services. Medical advice over the internet are also less less French, and the sale of drugs to self-medicate online.
But is this really a lack of interest, or rather a disappointment? This decline in expectations may indeed reflect a greater insight on what can bring the web: now most of the French have access to the web and health sites, which allows to get an idea said existing services (in 2000, pensioners and workers did not use the internet health, unlike today).
Conversely, in 2010, want more power “compare hospitals and clinics”, through charts, such as we have online at maternity hospitals (established classification statistics, combined with the notice of 13 000 mothers). “Medicines from other countries” are also more than half of respondents, stable figure for 10 years.
Finally the French were interviewed by Opinion Way on health sites that they consulted the most: for 67% of respondents (87% of 18-34 years old), it’s Doctissimo, far ahead of its competitors (27% for Aufeminin.com, coming second). Doctissimo was established in 2000 and has, much advanced over the past 10 years, enriching is articles, videos, and tools to continue to play its role in the health Internet information. Feel free to suggest us on our forums of possible improvements for the next 10 years!