Objective: This study assessed the prevalence of children's and adolescents' pain experiences and use of medicine and examined the relationships between pain experiences, medication knowledge, literacy, and use of medicine. Method: A probability-proportionate-to-size sampling method was used to systematically draw a random sample of schools. In 2014, a national representative sample of 2309 students from 35 primary schools (5th–6th grade), 2700 students from 30 middle schools, and 2013 students from 20 high schools completed the online survey. Results: Overall, 85.6% of children and adolescents reported experiencing pain during the past year that included headache (63.0%), throat ache (59.3%), muscle ache (58.3%), stomach pain (42.9%), menstrual pain (girls: 42.1%), and dental pain (38.5%). Children and adolescents had taken cold/cough medicine (48.1%), acetaminophen (15.0%), antacids (14.8%), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (10.5%) in the past year. Multivariate analysis results indicated that after controlling for pain experiences children and adolescents who had lower levels of medication knowledge and literacy were more likely to use pain medication and antacids more frequently. In addition, children and adolescents who had lower medication knowledge, lower literacy, asked doctors to prescribe antacids, and co-administered with antacids were more likely to report long-term use of antacids. Conclusions: Lower levels of medication knowledge and literacy among children and adolescents were associated with more frequent use of pain medication and antacids.
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