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Study of self medication practices and its determinant among college students of Delhi University North Campus, New Delhi, India

Mrinmoy Adhikary, Poornima Tiwari, Saudan Singh, Chetan Karoo.

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Background: Self-medication includes acquiring medicines without a prescription, resubmitting old prescriptions to purchase medicines, sharing medicines with relatives or members of one's social circle or using leftover medicines stored at home. In developing countries like India, self-medication is a common practice as it provides a low cost alternative for people.
Especially, the youth is exposed to media and the increased advertising of pharmaceuticals poses a larger threat to the younger population.

Aims & Objective: To determine the prevalence of self-medication among Delhi University students and to identify the sources and reasons for self-medication.

Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out using a ‘semi structured’ ‘pretested’ questionnaire among 350 students selected randomly from north campus of Delhi University during August and September 2012.

Results: The prevalence of self-medication was 85.4% among the study population. Principal morbidities for seeking self-medication were headache (86.2%) and common cold (57.8%). 79.3% of them got the medicine from chemist shop and 16.9% used home available medicines. 56.1% of the study subjects were aware about side effects of drugs they were using. Awareness about schedule H-drugs was also present in 39.5% of the study population. Regarding the major reasons for seeking self-medication, 31.0% did not find it necessary to consult a doctor followed by 25.0% who preferred to wait and watch, 21.3% had lack of time and 10.4% felt doctor’s fee was too high.

Conclusion: Prevalence of self-medication was high in the study population despite majority being aware of its harmful effects. There is an urgent need to enforce the law to prevent over the counter drug sale and to educate the youth to ensure safe practices.

Key words: Self-Medication; University Student; Determinants

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