Prevalence and practice of self-medication among undergraduate medical students and non-medical students in south India
Keywords:Medical, Non-medical, Respondents, Self-assessing questionnaire, Self-medication
Background: Self-medication is commonly practiced worldwide and the irrational use of drugs for self-medication is a major cause of concern. The situation is more complex when a number of prescriptions only medicines are used for self-medication which are easily available over the counter through pharmacies without any prescription. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and practice of self-medication among undergraduate medical students and non-medical students.
Methods: This cross-sectional questionnaire based study was carried out among 100 undergraduate students of a tertiary care medical college and 100 undergraduate students of an arts and science college in south India. The respondents were selected from the students who were present on the day of study. A pre-tested, self-assessing questionnaire was used to obtain the information on the prevalence and practice of self-medication.
Results: Self-medication was practiced by 96% and 92% of medical and nonmedical students respectively. Overall practice of self-medication was 94%. Majority of females were self-medicating than males, 94% and 90% respectively. The most common symptom leading to self-medication among medical students were cough and common cold compared to headache among nonmedical students. The commonly used medicines for self-medication in both the groups were analgesics, antipyretics, cough suppressants and antibiotics. More number of medical students reported the use of antibiotics to treat infections (70%) which was statistically significant.
Conclusions: The prevalence and practice of self-medication was alarming in both groups. The use of antimicrobials was also found to be very high among medical students. It is a need of the hour to create better awareness regarding the use of drugs for self-medication, to implement policies to prevent the dispensing of medicines without any prescription which would remain as the cornerstone for reducing the practice of self-medication.
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