Socio-economics: a propensity of self-medication among OPD patients of a teaching hospital

Subha Sankar Chattopadhyay, Angana Datta, Aritra Ghosh, Suvadip Biswas, Krishnendu Mandal, Supreeti Biswas


Background: Use of over the counter (OTC) drug is very much common in India. Not only medical professionals or educated urban population but also it is common in rural area and low educated person. This study was done to assess the extent of knowledge and practices of OTC drugs among OPD patients of a tertiary care hospital.

Methods: A questionnaire based study was conducted among 1680 Medicine OPD (outpatient department) patients.

Results: Among the participants, 62% patients taking OTC drugs at least once in their life. Most common symptoms for self-medication were fever (89%), cough and cold (78%), headache (67%), pain (53%), diarrhea (10%), vomiting (10%), indigestion (20%). Antipyretics (65%), analgesics (35%) among NSAIDs which were common used as OTC drugs. Others drugs were antacids (50%), cough and cold preparations (50%), Vitamins (30%), antiemetics (5%).

Conclusions: Awareness is necessary to use drugs rationally with proper prescription and know about harmful effects of OTC drugs.


Awareness, NSAIDs, Over the counter drug, Proper prescription, Questionnaire

Full Text:



Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA glossary of Terms; 2010 [cited 2011 July 15]. Available from http:// Drugs/information drugs/ucm079436: htm.

Mccabe SE, Teter CJ, Boyde CJ. Illicit use of prescription pain medication among college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2005 Jan 7;77(1):37-47.

Ferris DG, Nyirjesy P, Sobel JD, Pavletic A, Litaker MS. Over-the-counter antifungal drug misuse associated with patient-diagnosed vulvovaginal candidiasis. Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Mar;99(3):419-25.

Calabresi P, Cupini LM. Medication-overuse headache: similarities with drug addiction. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2005 Feb;26(2):62-8.

French L, Horton J, Matousek M. Abnormal vaginal discharge: What does and does not work in treating underlying causes. J Fam Pract. 2004 Nov;53(11):890-4.

Ashina S, Zeeberg P, Jensen RH, Ashina M. [Medication overuse headache]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2006 Mar 6;168(10):1015-9.

Badiger S, Kundapur R, Jain A, Kumar A, Pattanshetty S, Thakolkaran N et al. Self-medication pattern among medical students in South India. Australas Med J. 2012;5(4):217-20.

James H, Handu SS, Al Khaja KA, Otoom S, Sequeira RP. Evaluation of the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Self-Medication among First-Year Medical Students. Med Princ Pract. 2006;15(4):270-5.

Hem E, Stokke G, Tyssen R, Grønvold NT, Vaglum P, Ekeberg O. Self‐prescribing among young Norwegian doctors: a nine‐year follow‐up study of a nationwide sample. BMC Medicine. 2005;3:16.

Pagane JA, Ross S, Yaw J, Polsky D. Self medication and health insurance coverage in Mexico. Health policy. 2007;75:170-7.

Martins AP, Miranda AC, Mendes Z, Soares MA, Ferreira P, Nogueira A. Self-medication in a Portuguese urban population: a prevalence study. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2002 Jul-Aug;11(5):409-14.

Shankar PR, Partha P, Shenoy N. Self-medication and non- doctor prescription practices in Pokhara Valley, Western Nepal: A questionnaire based study. BMC Family Practice. 2002 Oct;3(1):17.

Bretagne JF, Richard-Molard B, Honnorat C, Caekaert A, Barthelemy P. [Gastroesophageal reflux in the French general population: national survey of 8000 adults]. Presse Med. 2006 Jan;35(1 Pt 1):23-31.

World Health Organization (WHO). Guidelines for the regulatory assessment of medicinal products for use in self-medication; 2000. Available from