Case Studies

Combating Misuse of OTC Medicine

Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Some people seeking relief from opioid withdrawal take excessive doses of certain over-the-counter drugs — at serious risk to their health. Reingold helped CHPA tackle this problem by educating clinicians, who can address this risk without inadvertently leading more people to misuse OTC drugs.


While campaigns to prevent drug misuse are well-intentioned, some inadvertently draw attention to, normalize, and even increase the very behavior they are trying to discourage. CHPA needed to avoid this contagion while working to curb a dangerous behavior with serious risks: taking massive doses of an otherwise safe OTC medication in an attempt to relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal. 


Using social listening, keyword research, and qualitative analysis, CHPA and Reingold devised a campaign that targeted health care professionals. Through digital ads, tailored to distinct medical specialties and delivered through provider platforms such as SERMO, we raised their awareness of this risk and educated them on ways to recognize and address their patients' misuse of OTC medication. 


CHPA's efforts informed the Food and Drug Administration's policies on OTC drug misuse and paved the way for a unique national response involving drug manufacturers, government, and health care providers.

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