A self-medicating scale and questionnaire based drug use survey and the effect of educational intervention among healthcare professional students

Radhika M. S., Mayur S. S., Kavleen Kaur Bindra, Sushmita G. Hittalmani


Background: Due to an array of reasons like easy accessibility and awareness about the available drugs, self-medication has steeply increased the already existent drug misuse. As the health professional students are exposed to all the information of drugs, it would be worthwhile to survey if this knowledge is misused to self-medicate. The present study was aimed at determining the impact of educational intervention on the prevalent attitudes and pattern of self-medication among medical, dental and nursing students as they constitute a vulnerable group for such practices.

Methods: A total of 360 health professional students participated in the study. A validated questionnaire and self-medication scale (SMS) were used for the survey, before and after the educational workshop.

Results: Of the 360 students 70% were females. 93.89% reported practicing self-medication, which reduced to 78.63% after the educational workshops. Average number of self-medication encounters before the workshop was 4.03±0.30. Analgesics were most commonly used. The modified SMS scores were significantly reduced (p<0.0001) after interventional workshops indicating that the enhanced knowledge, increased the reluctance to self-medicate and make students think twice before self-medicating so as to reduce such harmful, casual drug use habits.  Educational workshops statistically (p<0.0001) enhanced the participants knowledge of ADRs, OTC drugs, expiry date, package inserts etc. 77.78% nursing students were habituated to at least one drug which was significantly higher (χ2=20.45, p<0.0001) than that of medical and dental students taken together.

Conclusions: Educational intervention reduces the evil of self-medication and enhances safe drug use habits among healthcare professional students.


Health care students, Non-prescription drugs, OTC drugs, Self-medication

Full Text:



WHO. Guidelines for the regulatory assessment of medicinal products for use in Self medication, 2000. Available at: Accessed on 14 November 2018.

Loyola Filho AI, Lima-Costa MF, Uchoˆa E Bambui. Project: a qualitative approach to self-medication. Cad Saude Publica. 2004;20(6):1661-9.

Pandya RN, Jhaveri KS, Vyas FI, Patel VJ. Prevalence, pattern and perceptions of self-medication in medical students. Int J Basic Clin Pharmacol. 2013;2:275-80.

Verma RK, Mohan L, Pandey M. Evaluation of self medication among professional students in North India: proper statutory drug control must be implemented. Asian J Pharm Clin Res. 2010;3(1):60-4.

Ali SE, Ibrahim MIM, Palaian S. Medication storage and self-medication behaviour amongst female students in Malaysia. Pharmacy Practice. 2010;8(4):1-7.

Nalini GK. Self- medication among allopathic medical doctors in Karnataka, India. Brit J Med Practioners. 2010;3(2):325.

Alam N, Saffon N, Uddin R. Sel-medication among medical and pharmacy students in Bangladesh. BMC Res Notes. 2015;8:763.

Kiron SS, Athira SR, Arya KS. Knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among pharmacy students. World J Pharma Res. 2018;7(16):736-45.

Phalke VD, Phalke DB, Durgawale PM. Self-Medication practices in rural Maharashtra. Indian J Community Med. 2006;31(1):34-5.

Kumar CA, Revannasiddaiah N. Assessment of self-medication pattern in rural area of south India: a questionnaire based study. Int J Community Med Pub Heal. 2018:5(1):354-60.

James DH, French DP. The development of the Self-Medicating Scale (SMS): a scale to measure people’s beliefs about self-medication. Pharm World Sci. 2008;30(6):794-800.

World Health Organization (WHO). Role of pharmacists in self-care and self-medication. The fourth consultative group meetings on the role of the pharmacist in the health care system organized by WHO in collaboration with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). 1998:2-11.

Banerjee I, Bhadury T. Self-medication practice among undergraduate medical students in a tertiary care medical college, West Bengal. J Postgrad Med. 2012:58(2);127-31.

Sontakke SD, Bajait CS, Pimpalkhute SA, Jaiswal KM, Jaiswal SR. Comparative study of evaluation of self-medication practices in first and third year medical students. Int J Biol Med Res. 2011:2(2);561-4.

Badiger S, Kundapur R, Jain A, Kumar A, Pattanshetty S. Selfmedication patterns among medical students in South India. Australas Med J. 2012:5(4);217-20.

Sankdia RK, Agrawal M, Rekha PB, Kothari N. A questionnaire based study regarding the knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among second year undergraduate medical students. Int J Pharmacol and Clin Sci. 2017;6:01-05.

Bhatia MK, Ripudaman S, Akashdeep S, Bhardwaj B.L. Knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among undergraduate medical students of Punjab. J Med Res. 2017;3:151-4.

Abay SM, Amelo W. Assessment of self-medication practices among medical, pharmacy, and health science students in Gondar University, Ethiopia. J Young Pharm. 2010;2:306-10.

Bagewadi HG, Deodurg PM, Patil BV, Zahid SH. Perceptions and practices of self-medication among undergraduate medical students at Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalaburagi, India. Int J Basic Clin Pharmacol. 2018;7:63-7.

Johnson M, Badyal DK. Prevalence, knowledge, attitude and practice regarding self-medication among medical, dental and paramedical students in a tertiary care hospital. Int J Basic Clin Pharmacol. 2018;7:1822-8.

Maldonado JC, Meléndez SD, Figueras A. Long-term effects of an educational intervention on self-medication and appropriate drug use in single-sex secondary public schools, Quito, Ecuador. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2006:63(1);92-9.

Shehadeh MB, Suaifan G, Hammad EA. Active educational intervention as a tool to improve safe and appropriate use of antibiotics. Saudi Pharm J. 2016;24(5):611-5.