To study the pattern, efficacy and tolerability of analgesic self medication among undergraduate medical students: a questionnaire based survey
Keywords:Medical students, Analgesics, Self-medication, Pain
Background: Self-medication is widely prevalent among medical students. Sufficient data is still lacking in India. The present study was aimed to determine the pattern, efficacy and, tolerability of analgesic self-medication among undergraduate medical students.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. A structured questionnaire was given to medical students aged 18-24 years. Results were expressed in numbers and percentage.
Results: In the present study, 130 students filled the questionnaires completely and were assessed for study. The principal morbidity for seeking self-medication was moderate intensity headache which is completely relieved by analgesics in most of the cases. Pain affected the quality of life of students by decrease in concentration in studies, decrease in energy level, and affecting their daily activity. Analgesics which were commonly used for self-medication included paracetamol (64%), diclofenac (7.6%), aceclofenac (5.3%), paracetamol plus ibuprofen combination (4.6%), mefenamic acid plus dicyclomine combination (7.7%) ibuprofen (5.3%), and others (5%). Gastrointestinal side effects were also observed (29%). Reasons for seeking self-medication were mild nature of the illness (39%), saves time and money (27%), self confidence in treatment (19%), easy and effective (15%). Among the source of information of self-medication includes the use of previous prescriptions (50%), advertisement (9%), textbooks (23%), and others (18%).
Conclusions: Our study showed a high prevalence (77.8%) of analgesic self‑medication among medical students. Paracetamol was the most common drug consumed, followed by other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A high incidence of side effects observed. It is necessary to create more awareness regarding possible harmful effects of self-medication and ways to minimize them.
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