Use of over the counter drugs in urban and rural populations of Mandya district: a cross-sectional study

Nagarajaiah B. Hanumantharayappa, Shashikumar N. Siddaiah


Background: Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines which are sold directly to a consumer without a prescription. There is a big potential for misuse and abuse of such products. Over the counter (OTC) drugs are meant for self-medication and are of proved efficacy and safety. Their improper use and unable to follow the precautions due to lack of knowledge of their side effects and interactions could lead to serious complications, especially in children and elderly.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted using a pre-tested & semi-structured questionnaire. A total of 400 urban and 400 rural persons were interviewed for this study. 100 persons were interviewed in Mandya city and 50 each from the city in each of the 6 taluks. Data was entered in Microsoft Excel software and was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software. Chi-square test was used to calculate the difference in use among the urban and rural OTC drug users.

Results: A total of 800 persons were interviewed regarding their use of OTC drugs, among them 400 were urban residents and 400 were rural residents of Mandya district. Of the 400 urban persons and rural persons, 310 respondents (77.50%) and 273 respondents (68.25%) reported the use of OTC in the recall period of the last 6 months respectively. The difference in the usage of OTC by urban adults was significantly more than that of rural adults.

Conclusions: The proportion of the respondents who had practiced self-medication with OTC drugs is very high. The prevalence of self-medication with OTC drugs in our study was found to be 72.87% and is nearly same in both rural and urban population. As this study was conducted in a limited population in Mandya district, generalization of the study to all the population cannot be done, and it requires large study in all districts of Karnataka with adequate sampling methods.


OTC drugs, Self-medication, Questionnaire

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